WASHINGTON — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry’s first try at passing a Pentagon policy bill faces a major challenge: Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s whip operation.
The Texas Republican, since taking the committee gavel in January, has talked about the bipartisan tradition behind the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). But Republican hawks’ insistence that leadership inflate the Pentagon’s war account by nearly $40 billion has riled Democrats.
On Thursday, Pelosi called the move “disingenuous,” adding it takes a “narrow” view of how to best fund national security. The latter echoes comments made last week on Capitol Hill by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
She said GOP leaders are using the war fund “as a virtual slush fund.”
Pelosi said House Democrats support raising defense spending caps, but also domestic spending limits. Republicans oppose the latter, so Pelosi and other House Democrats, including Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith of Washington, are opposing the defense authorization measure.
House aides say Pelosi is whipping Democratic members to vote no on final passage of the NDAA on Friday, though she did not mention that during her weekly press conference.