WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today released the following statement in response to Ranking Member Mac Thornberry’s (R-TX) introduction of an amendment to the FY20 NDAA, which would have added $17 billion to the defense budget without an offset:
“The Armed Services Committee has a unique, bipartisan history, which relies in large part on a past precedent during each full committee markup: An agreement, by unanimous consent, to block any amendments that authorize additional funding without an offset. Ranking Member Thornberry’s choice to violate a decades-old tradition is a sad reflection of our partisan times.
“To authorize spending beyond the guidelines provided by the House is like playing with monopoly money, making the HASC and its recommendations irrelevant. Abandoning our offset tradition and authorizing an additional $17 billion beyond the topline mocks our men and women in uniform, who the minority claims to support. This money simply doesn’t exist. Not only that, it won’t buy another bullet for a soldier, fund military construction projects, or provide our service members with the 3.1 percent pay raise they deserve.
“When Republicans sat in the majority, they were happy to hold the minority to this standard and legislate accordingly, cutting money from defense budgets to pay for their district-specific priorities. Why now are they choosing to pull $17 billion out of thin air for their pet projects? Because the leader of their party, President Trump, wants a round number to tout on the campaign trail, rather than good policy that keeps our country safe.
“I thank Ranking Member Thornberry for his leadership as past Chairman. I believe I have shown him the same respect and goodwill he once extended to me as Chairman. For years, Democrats sat in the minority and had to live with certain Republican provisions in previous iterations of the NDAA. But the fact remains, Democrats are now in the majority, and while we can all agree on more than 95 percent of this year’s NDAA, the bill will inevitably reflect Democratic values.