WASHINGTON — In a rare move, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith announced Wednesday he will oppose the panel’s 2016 Pentagon policy bill.
The measure includes a war fund with nearly $40 billion added that essentially are base-budget funds. But since Republican congressional leaders are opposed to equal domestic-spending hikes, Smith and other House Democrats say they will vote no later this week when the chamber votes on its 2016 NDAA.
“Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the  Budget Control Act caps are extremely damaging and as long as Congress fails to enact a solution, a variety of key national priorities will continue to suffer,” Smith said in a statement. “I understand that finding a compromise to remove the caps has been elusive, but that does not justify the use of gimmicks to protect one part of the budget, and shortchange other portions that are vitally important to the future of our country.
“Even worse, this short-term work-around does not enable the Department of Defense to undertake long term planning or provide the certainty that they can count on such funding in the future,” the Washington Democrat added. “I have great respect for Chairman [Mac] Thornberry, but I cannot vote for this bill under these circumstances.”
There currently are 433 House members, meaning Thornberry and GOP leaders need 217 votes to pass the NDAA. If every Democrat sides with Smith, Republicans would have enough of their votes to pass the bill.