Washington, D.C. – Today, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) made the following statement about the FY 18 NDAA conference report:

“The FY 18 NDAA contains many policy provisions that will strengthen the national security of the United States. I am proud of the bipartisan effort with Chairman Thornberry, Chairman McCain, and Ranking Member Reed that has gone into crafting it. This bill takes important steps to counter the Russian campaign to undermine democracy worldwide; recognize climate change as a direct threat to U.S. national security; combat terrorism; enhance Congressional oversight of the Trump administration; and support our men and women in uniform.

“Although this bill authorizes $692 billion in defense spending, the actual amount we spend on defense will ultimately be decided by Congressional budget negotiations that have barely even begun, and on our ability to enact relief from the Budget Control Act. It is unlikely that those numbers will correspond. This should not be the case: What Congress and the United States desperately need is a consistent, long-term plan to fund the Department of Defense and our national security activities that does not rely on short-term resolutions, budgetary gimmicks, and magical thinking.

“It is the height of craven politics and irresponsibility to, on the one hand, complain about an inadequate defense budget, while on the other hand pushing a $1.7 trillion tax cut. We are currently $20 trillion in debt. The connection between our overall budgetary situation and the pressures on the defense budget is as clear as day, and enacting a tax cut that large would be a completely unjustified deficit blowout that only makes the situation much, much worse.”