WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement regarding the postponement of the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024.

“There is no way to make the substantial cuts to discretionary spending the Republican majority is vaguely proposing without doing great harm to the defense budget and the national security of this country. The Republican leadership’s decision to take the debt ceiling increase hostage, to basically play chicken with the full faith and credit of our country, also cannot do anything but jeopardize our national security. Their decision to delay the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act is but the first of what will be many clear indications of these realities.

“Apparently not having a sense of hypocrisy, Republican leadership has been arguing both that President Biden’s very substantial defense budget proposal is somehow billions of dollars less than it must be to meet our defense needs, and that we must make massive cuts to our discretionary budget to meet their idea of what fiscal responsibility would look like. Never mind that the defense budget accounts for over half of the discretionary budget or that this number is even higher if one adds in the budget for veterans.

“Speaker McCarthy delayed the markup of the defense bill because reality has come crashing in on this ridiculous, hypocritical fantasy. You cannot increase the defense budget while refusing to take the steps necessary to actually raise the debt ceiling, and while proposing to make massive cuts to the discretionary budget.

“It is way past time to end these games. The debt ceiling must be raised, the budget discussion must be had in the normal budget authorization and appropriations processes, and we must get back to the regular order of business and markup the defense bill in committee, pass it off the floor, and begin negotiations with the Senate to once again pass this crucial piece of legislation.”