Appropriations Challenges Ahead as Senate Takes Up NDAA

Last Friday, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a military appropriations spending bill, by a narrow margin of 219-210. House Republicans needed four Democratic votes in the House to pass the usually bipartisan bill, offsetting a few Republican members who objected to the spending levels and voted against the measure.

The bill became a flash point because of votes on controversial amendments on social issues demanded by some members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative House Republicans. The Senate takes up their version of the NDAA this week, and most of the controversial House amendments are not expected to survive the House and Senate negotiations when they meet to reconcile both versions of the legislation.

But the fight over the NDAA is just the beginning of what is likely to be a prolonged struggle on spending that will last through the fall, when many in the Senate believe they may be able to exceed some of the spending caps imposed by the debt-limit agreement negotiated by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy back in May. Senate leaders are planning for an emergency supplemental bill for defense, disaster relief and other priorities that would not be subject to the debt-limit caps, putting them at odds with House Republicans who want to maintain the debt limit’s overall spending limitations.