WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6395 the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 by a vote of 295 to 125.
“At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, and in an increasingly divisive political climate, for the 60th consecutive year the House has proven that our constitutional obligation to ‘provide for the common defense’ is far more important than politics.
“I am incredibly proud of the work that the House Armed Services Committee was able to accomplish this year, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and strongly believe the FY21 NDAA is an excellent piece of legislation that delivers for our service members and their families. Thanks to the work of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the bill we passed today supports our troops, reflects our values, and provides for a strong national defense.
“For 60 consecutive years the NDAA has exemplified the legislative process at its best. Over the course of months, we identify policies on which we can agree and participate in thorough, thoughtful debate on issues where we disagree. In our current political climate, characterized by partisanship and divisive leadership in the White House, it is increasingly important that Congress show the American people we are still capable of compromise.
“During this process, Democrats secured critical provisions that foster a more diverse and inclusive force and give our military the necessary tools and programs to eliminate and protect service members from racial bias. The FY21 NDAA also seeks to prevent and address sexual assault in the military while supporting survivors of sexual trauma. At a time when our leadership is so desperately needed around the globe, the FY21 NDAA focuses on our relationships with our partners and allies, by reaffirming our commitment to NATO and bolstering our support to the Indo-Pacific region with our Indo-Pacific Reassurance Initiative.
“Now, as we turn to the conference with our colleagues in the Senate, I am optimistic that our work will continue to reflect the bipartisan tradition that distinguishes the Armed Services Committees.”