July 09, 2015

Hirono Named to Defense Bill Conference Committee, Continues Fight to Fix Budget Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) named Senator Mazie K. Hirono to the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee. The NDAA is an annual bill that lays out the Department of Defense’s budget and strategic plan for the military in the next year.

“The NDAA should reflect the United States’ national security priorities by supporting our men and women in uniform, sustaining a 21st century fighting force, and investing in long-term initiatives like the Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific,” said Senator Hirono. “As a conferee, I will work to see that Hawaii continues to play a vital role in these efforts. I continue to be concerned about the impact of the sequester, which harms our economy and our national security. I look forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues to address these issues and find bipartisan solutions that will keep our military strong.”

The Senate also voted down an effort led by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) to instruct the Conference Committee to fix a major problem with the NDAA—a budget gimmick opposed by President Obama and Defense Secretary Carter that would provide additional funding to defense programs next year while leaving all other federal agencies and programs subject to deep cuts due to sequestration. Senator Hirono supports fixing sequestration for all federal programs, and voted for Senator Reed’s motion, which was defeated 44-52.

Both the House and Senate have passed different versions of the NDAA. Under the Constitution, Congress has to agree on the same text of a bill in order to send it to the President for signature. Conference Committees serve as a way for the House and Senate to reach agreement on legislation which must then be passed again by both the House and Senate. As an NDAA conferee, Senator Hirono will collaborate with members of the Senate and House to come to a bipartisan and bicameral compromise on our nation’s military spending. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) will also serve on the Conference Committee.