HASC Approves Fiscal 2014 Defense Authorization Bill

The House Armed Services Committee passed H.R. 1960, its version of the Fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill, in the early morning hours of June 6 by a vote of 59 to two. The legislation, expected to go to the full House next week, authorizes $552.1 billion in national defense spending compared to the $526.6 billion requested by the Obama Administration. It also includes $85.8 billion for overseas contingency operations—a $2.7 billion decrease from the Fiscal 2013 authorized level. The HASC authorization exceeds allowable spending under the Budget Control Act and ignores a second round of sequestration cuts, states the committee’s bill summary. “Despite important disagreements on key issues, our members have never failed to come to a consensus on behalf of our fighting men and women,” said HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in a release. Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said in a statement the bill “reflects a strong commitment” to supporting US troops, but it also highlights a need to remove sequestration. “We have seen the serious damage that it causes. If Congress does not act, then it is only going to get worse and work we have done to support our troops through this bill will not fully be realized,” he said.