Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement today following the “pass the gavel” meeting, which marked the first formal meeting of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA) conference process. Each year, the chairmanship of the NDAA conference committee alternates between the two chambers. This year, Chairman McCain passed the gavel to his counterpart, House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX):
“Today’s ‘pass the gavel’ meeting formally kicked off conference negotiations between the Senate and the House on the NDAA. I am pleased to see the process moving forward on this important legislation, which will provide our men and women in uniform with the training, resources, and equipment they need. As we have seen from the recent rash of training incidents, our military is facing a readiness crisis that is unnecessarily putting the lives of our service members at risk. Through the NDAA, Congress will authorize the funding and policies necessary to start rebuilding our military.
“This meeting also represents something important about Congress itself: the value of doing business under regular order. By working through the committee process—from hearings to markup, through debate and amendments—we built bipartisan support for this legislation. In the Senate, the NDAA passed out of committee unanimously by a vote of 27-0 and on the floor by an overwhelming 89-8. Now we are working together with our colleagues in the House of Representatives to negotiate the differences between the bill in Congress. Unfortunately, this way of doing business has become all too rare—but it is the kind of legislating that befits the service and sacrifice of our brave service members and can make all Americans proud.”