Smith, Thornberry pledge defense policy bill will pass

By Tony Bertuca / April 28, 2020 at 2:19 PM

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Armed Services Committee today promised to pass a fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This year, Congress will pass the 60th National Defense Authorization Act," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said in a joint statement. "This milestone has been made possible by decades of bipartisanship, regular order, and transparency."

The lawmakers said, however, the pandemic will "certainly affect how the committee marks up" the bill and how the House considers it on the floor.

"We are discussing those details and consulting with the leadership of both parties," they said. "At the same time, we remain committed to the principles that have guided the bill in the past -- regular order through the committee, transparency, and bipartisanship."

The statement comes as House leaders said lawmakers do not intend to return to session May 4 as originally scheduled and have yet to commit to a new date.

Meanwhile, Thornberry and Smith have both said they want a final FY-21 defense authorization bill ready for consideration by the end of May.