House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) introduced an amendment Tuesday to the chamber’s fiscal 2020 defense policy bill that would increase the fiscal 2020 defense topline to $750 billion, The Hill reported.
The House version of next year’s NDAA was scheduled for debate by the Armed Services Committee Wednesday. Thornberry’s amendment is a response to $733 billion in defense spending that committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has moved forward for debate.
“The Armed Services Committee heard repeated testimony, from Acting Secretary Shanahan, former Secretary Mattis, Gen. Dunford and others, that the military’s budget must grow between 3 and 5 percent through 2025,” Thornberry said in a statement. “The Chairman’s Mark does not meet that standard.”
The panel’s top Republican was also undecided whether he would ultimately vote for the bill, CQ reported.
“We’ll see,” Thornberry told reporters. “I’m not going to decide now, because we have a markup to go. We’ve got amendments to come and go. It may get better, it may get worse. We’ll see.”
Smith has deflected criticism that the bill’s funding level is inadequate, saying the defense topline is what the Pentagon expected prior to the administration submitting its fiscal 2020 budget request. He also expressed concerns about DOD financial accountability.
“I am genuinely concerned, and I think we have enough history with the Pentagon to see it in the past, when they’ve been given more money than perhaps they expected, there is a lot of inefficiency and waste that follows,” Smith said, according to the report.
Army Sgt. James K. McCann