Congress Begins its Yearly National Defense Authorization Slog June 23, 2023
On Wednesday, June 21 the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a 14-hour marathon session to markup the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This process begins when President Biden introduces his budget request for FY2024. From there, the HASC and Senate Armed Services Committees (SASC) prepare legislation that will then receive amendments to the bill, which are considered, debated and voted upon during these “markup” sessions.
During the HASC session, Members of Congress debated and voted on 800 amendments to the NDAA. These amendments spanned a plethora of topics, including amendments from Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA 8th District) on delaying plutonium pit production and pausing the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent missile program — both of which were rejected.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO 5th District) put forth an amendment to make the nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SCLM-N) a program of record for the Department of Defense (DOD), which would establish it as a directed, funded effort by the DOD, which was adopted. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT 2nd District) tried to complicate this effort by sabotaging funding and development of this dangerous nuclear weapon through an amendment that would require the National Nuclear Security Administration and DOD to implement a cost and operational analysis of making SLCM-N a program of record within the DOD. Unfortunately, his amendment was rejected.
If you want to look at the amendments considered and debated during HASC markup, Win Without War has put together a tracker for both HASC markup and Floor markup, which is slated to occur in July.
The next phase of this process will consist of this bill with the amendments adopted to move to the full House for consideration, debate, and amended further. Once the NDAA has made it through the entire House, this House version will then be sent to SASC for review. Once SASC has put forth a proposal, the full Senate will then debate and amend the NDAA even more. Both the House and Senate have to approve the exact same NDAA for it to pass and then send it back to the President. It has become tradition for the House and Senate to take months after the Fiscal Year ends to come to an agreement on the NDAA, and during this time the government usually has to rely on Continuing Resolutions to fund the government until they can agree upon and pass an NDAA that suits both chambers.
Stay tuned for more updates on the NDAA process as it unfolds.