Top House Armed Services Dem blasts GOP colleagues for NDAA hold up

On Wednesday, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee lashed out at his Republican colleagues for delaying an annual defense policy bill hike over debate on the debt ceiling.

Ranking member Adam Smith (D-Washington) accused Republicans of holding the debt ceiling hike “hostage” and said it would endanger national security.

“There is no way to drastically cut the discretionary spending vaguely proposed by the Republican majority without seriously damaging the defense budget and national security of this country,” Smith said in a statement.

“Their decision to delay the markup of the Defense Authorization Act is just the first of many clear indications of these realities,” he added.

Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee announced on Tuesday that the panel is delaying plans to mark up the NDAA for fiscal year 2024, which is due to begin this week, but gave no explanation at the time.

Speaker Mike Rogers (R-Alabama) said in a statement, “Providing our nation’s defense is the most important responsibility given to Congress under the United States Constitution.” We look forward to initiating the FY24 NDAA process in the near future to enhance our national security.”

A House committee does not appear to have set a new date for considering the bill, and the subcommittee intended to discuss the portion beginning Thursday. We were supposed to discuss the NDAA version on the 23rd. The Senate Armed Services Committee has also delayed reviewing a version of the defense bill on the debt ceiling debate. The panel was due to take up the bill later this month, but plans to consider it in mid-June.

The issue centers around a bill passed by House Republicans that raises the debt ceiling and limits government funding to fiscal 2022 levels. All of this is aimed at curbing spending and rolling back some actions of the Biden administration.

But President Biden and White House officials are adamant that Congress instead unconditionally raise the debt ceiling.

The top four leaders in Congress, including Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California), met Tuesday to find a route to avoid a national debt default, but no solution. .

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress last week that the U.S. could default by June 1.

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