1 min read


The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sets the budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense each year. Coupled with defense appropriations bills, it is how Congress oversees the defense budget.


What’s this controversial provision I’m hearing about?

A provision in the House bill to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors has proven controversial.

Rep. Steve Russell (R, OK-5) introduced an amendment to prohibit discrimination by government contractors against groups named in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws do not include protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

Rep. Sean Maloney (D, NY-18) offered an amendment that would include protections for the LGBTQ+ community. The 2-minute vote was close. After the two-minutes allotted for voting, there were 217 votes in favor of Rep. Maloney’s amendment and 206 against. Instead of gaveling down at the two minute mark, the speaker pro tempore kept the vote open for 7 minutes and 37 seconds and the final vote was 213 votes against and 212 votes in favor.
Check out the final vote count and how your Representative voted.
This language will likely be contested when the House and Senate go to conference over their respective NDAA legislation. However, there are many other differences in the bills that the chambers must also reconcile.   


The House Version:

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (H.R. 4909)
Sponsor: Rep. Mac Thornberry [R, TX-13]
Policy provisions include:
  • $551 billion in Base Defense Spending
  • $59 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), but moves $18 billion of this to Pentagon by cutting OCO budget from September to April (requiring a new budget request in April to provide funding for the emergency overseas expenses and readiness).
  • Blocks transfer of any suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay detention camp
  • $600 million in funding for Israeli missile defense research
  • Requires Pentagon to improve suicide prevention and mental health care
  • Funds 27,000 more active-duty troops and 25,000 additional reservists
  • Increases pay for military personnel by 2.1%
  • Adds $3.6 billion to operations and maintenance and $10.5 billion to procurement


The Senate Version:

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (S. 2943)
Sponsor: Sen. John MCCain [R, AZ]
Policy provisions include:
  • $602 billion of discretionary spending for national defense

    • ‚Äč$543 billion for base functions in Department of Defense and for nuclear functions within Department of Energy

    • $59 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations funding

    • $5 billion of Overseas Contingency Operations funding supports functions through the base budget

  • Increases training, maintenance, and weapons by $2 billion

  • Reduces general and flag officers and DOD Senior Executive Service civilian employees by 25%

  • Requires women turning 18 on or after January 1, 2018 to register for Selective Service in the same way men register now

  • Limits on closure of Guantanamo Bay detention camp



What’s Next?

House and Senate representatives will go to conference to reconcile differences between their respective bills. The two chambers must pass identical legislation. President Obama has threatened to veto both the House and Senate Versions.

Highlighting a bill does not indicate POPVOX endorsement in any way. Our goal is to help you stay better informed and share your input, supporting or opposing, with your lawmakers.