House Passes Defense Policy Bill 220-197

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Source: U.S. Government

The House passed its version of the FY20 defense authorization bill along party lines by a vote of 220-197.  The bill provides a $733 billion topline for national security programs, $17 billion below the request.  The topline figure matches what the administration was previously planning to seek in FY20 before increasing the request to $750 billion.

Both sides of the aisle are accusing the other of partisan gamesmanship.  In passing the bill, House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D-WA) said in a press release that not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill, arguing that they “chose to abandon one of the last true bastions of bipartisanship, just because they didn’t get their way on 100 percent of the provisions in this bill.”  Conversely, ranking member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) claimed that Democrats practically froze Republicans out of the amendment process, and said that their efforts to cut $17 billion from the bill did not reflect a bipartisan approach.

Thornberry previously introduced an amendment that would have restored the $17 billion cut from the bill, but the amendment was not adopted.  The White House has said it would veto the House defense policy bill if it reached his desk in its current form, and identified a number of programs that saw funding cuts in the bill.

The Senate passed its version of the defense authorization bill in June.  That legislation supports the administration’s $750 billion topline for national security programs.  A conference committee will iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, but it is clear that the negotiation process will be a contentious one.

About Shaun McDougall

Shaun McDougall is an analyst at Forecast International covering the U.S. and Canadian defense markets.

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