Thornberry not satisfied with committee-approved defense bill

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), ranking member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, made clear last week that the committee’s advancement of the Fiscal Year 2020 defense package isn’t specifically what he wanted in the legislation.

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is an opportunity to maintain the momentum we need to rebuild our military, reform its broken acquisition system, and meet our commitment to our men and women in uniform,” Rep. Thornberry said. “Unfortunately, the bill reported out of committee does not seize that opportunity, and sadly takes our military backwards in several key areas.”

The committee on June 13 voted 33-24 to pass the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, H.R. 2500, and has sent it to the full House for action.

“There were too many problematic provisions in the bill for most Republicans on the committee to overlook,” said Rep. Thornberry, who cosponsored H.R. 2500 in May with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA).

Among several of Rep. Thornberry’s unresolved concerns, according to his office, are proposed cuts totaling $17 billion from the president’s budget request, including more than $1.2 billion in military personnel funding cuts, as well as slashes to vital modernization programs that the congressman thinks are critical to deter Russia and China.

“I am hopeful that as the bill proceeds, it will improve and earn my support,” Rep. Thornberry said, adding that he intends to introduce amendments to H.R. 2500 as the House consideration process continues.