House begins defense authorization bill process

By Tony Bertuca / March 27, 2020 at 11:55 AM

The House Armed Services Committee has taken its first procedural step in the process to craft the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill, according to a committee statement.

The bill -- introduced as H.R. 6935 by Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) -- "does not reflect substantive work by the Armed Services Committee. Rather, provisions contained in the bill reflect legislative proposals submitted by the Department of Defense," the committee said.

When the committee meets to consider the FY-21 defense authorization bill, the content of H.R. 6395 will be removed and replaced with subcommittee and full committee proposals.

The committee said it continues to adhere to federal health guidelines amid the COVID-19 crisis and plans to continue its work.

"During this time of uncertainty, the committee remains focused on completing the [bill] and performing rigorous oversight through formal communications and teleconferences, which can and will be accomplished while protecting the health of our members and staff," the committee said.

It remains to be seen if committee members will try to consider the legislation remotely.

Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee has moved to "paper hearings" that will allow members to work remotely.

The House is slated to mark up committee legislation April 30, while the Senate hopes to finish committee work by the end of May.