House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he wants the House to vote on its version of a Fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill by early June in the hopes of avoiding an election year stalemate. With an election cycle looming, McKeon said he is “very concerned” the NDAA would once again fall victim to politics, which would introduce more calamity to Pentagon budget planning, he said Monday following a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The House passed its version of the Fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill on June 6, but disputes between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate prevented the approval of a bill until December 2013—after the government shutdown and only hours before Congress adjourned for the year, noted McKeon, who said he does not want a repeat of last year’s tortured continuing resolution-addled process. Because of election year politics, both the House and Senate are expected to go to their districts to campaign in October. With the control of the Senate in jeopardy, McKeon said there will be little incentive to finish a defense bill after the election. “I’m really concerned about this,” he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.