WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House passed H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 by a vote of 220 to 197, without the support of a single Republican.  Upon passage, Chairman Smith (D-WA), of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following remarks:

“For the 59th straight year, members of the House upheld our constitutional duty to provide for the common defense by passing the NDAA. Following months of bipartisan collaboration with our colleagues, the Democratic-controlled House presented the most progressive NDAA in a decade. Not only does this NDAA and its provisions keep our nation safe, but it honors the values of our country, strengthens our security, and advances America’s leadership in the world.

“For the previous 58 years, the NDAA process exemplified the bipartisan tradition and collaboration envisioned by the Founding Fathers. This year however, has been different. While the bill reflects the values of our new Democratic majority, the ultimate focus is – and will always be – securing a strong national defense and supporting the men and women who defend our nation. House Democrats did not lose sight of that fact throughout this process. Yet our Republican colleagues 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.”

“This bill underpins a smart defense posture with a tough stance on Russia and continued collaboration with allies, eliminates wasteful spending, promotes a more inclusive military by reinforcing the values of diversity, STEM and integration, and solidifies Congress’ oversight role of defense programs and the authorization to use of military force. Because of these and other critical provisions, it was of the utmost importance to our national defense that we pass the NDAA – and we did.

“I am proud that House Democrats stood together in the face of partisan rhetoric while, unfortunately, our Republican colleagues turned their backs on the men and women who defend our nation, and instead choose to use them as political pawns.

“As we now move to conference with our colleagues in the Senate, I am hopeful that our work can return to the bipartisan tradition that distinguishes the Armed Services Committees. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to refine this legislation so that it not only honors our oath to protect and defend, but it also – and most importantly – continues to takes care of the single most valuable asset in our national defense strategy: our service members.”