Saving the Guard: House Passes the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013

Today marked the, somewhat epic, conclusion of the House National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 4310). Over the past few weeks, the NGAUS legislative team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the voices of the the men and women of the National Guard were heard. We are please to say, we did just that!

The full House took up H.R. 4310 for three days, debating and voting on some 141 amendments. NGAUS, along with the National Guard Bureau, identified 18 amendments offered on National Guard matters, with 14 of those amendments approved in the final passage of the act.

Around 1pm, the House passed H.R. 4310 with the final vote at 299-120 and 13 not voting. This bill authorizes $642.5 billion dollars for defense spending. This is a $3.6 billion increase over the President’s requested budget and $8 billion over the caps set forth by the Budget Control Act.  

One stand out floor speech came from Representative Kathleen Hochul (D-NY) who spoke on her cosponsorship of an amendment, included in the committee mark, that would prohibit the U.S. Air Force from retiring any aircraft in 2013.  She called on the Air Force once again to be transparent and open in their budget process.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon (R-CA) had this to say on the passage of H.R. 4310:

“This year’s defense authorization bill helps meet my priorities as chairman: resolve sequestration, restore strategy and sanity to the defense budget, and rebuild our military after a decade of war.”

Once the final bill text of H.R. 4310 is made available, our NGAUS analysis can be found here.

Next week with the House in recess, we move to the Senate, where the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) will begin mark-up of their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (S.2467). All committee mark-ups (including sub-committee) will be held behind closed doors – which sadly means no more early morning committee broadcasts to monitor. Full committee consideration of S. 2467 is scheduled for next Thursday/Friday.

It is critical SASC also includes language to halt the cuts to the Air National Guard and the Army National Guard’s until further analysis is provided to justify the drastic reductions to the most cost effective force in the nation’s military. NGUAS is working actively to ensure that the full capabilities of the National Guard are carefully considered in the Senate NDAA. We look forward to watching what comes out of SASC, as well as a likely heated debate on the Senate floor.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

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