Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement after the House passed the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act:

“I want to thank Chairman McKeon, all members of the House of Representatives and staff for their hard work on this important piece of legislation.

“While this bill is not perfect, it makes progress in several key areas and it prioritizes our troops deployed in Afghanistan, and around the world, by ensuring that they have the tools and resources they need to do their job and ensure national security.

“Now that the House has acted, I urge my Senate colleagues to follow suit. This is a must-pass piece of legislation.  Currently, sequestration is wreaking havoc on our military. Employees have been furloughed. The department continues to be forced to function under a continuing resolution, which severely hinders its ability to plan and budget. If we don’t pass an authorization bill, the strain on our military will be taken to a new and unnecessary level.

“Without this bill, our troops will lose the incentive pay we provide them for developing the specialized skills that make our men and women in uniform the most effective military the world has ever known.  Without this bill, our efforts in Afghanistan will be harmed, making it difficult to draw down our presence and hand responsibility for security to the Afghan government. Not passing the bill would disrupt acquisition and shipbuilding programs, wasting vital taxpayer dollars. At a crucial time, not passing the bill would also restrict our ability to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, and prevent changes in law that would help combat sexual assault in the military.  These are just some of the negative effects of not passing the National Defense Authorization Act this year.

“The bill took a difficult course this year, and we must get back to a normal process, but I believe that all members have had the opportunity to shape the outcome. Given the firm dedication of all parties involved, I believe that we have found a way to get this bill to the President’s desk and I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to move quickly on this important piece of legislation.”