While defense hawks in Congress are supporting the two-year bipartisan budget agreement announced this week because it provides $33 billion in funding for national security above this year’s statutory spending limit, it falls $5 billion short of the budget called for in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, forcing the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to trim some programs.

The two committees will be meeting to figure out what to cut, Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of House Armed Services, told CQ Roll Call.

“I don’t know where the $5 billion will come from. It’ll come out of muscle,” Thornberry said. “There’s not fat that you can just, you know, chip away and say, ‘Okay, this doesn’t matter.’ It will matter. So, it’ll be significant.”

Thornberry also said the committees had not yet determined how they will proceed to enact the defense authorization bill that President Obama vetoed last week. One option is to continue with the override vote in the House scheduled for Nov. 5. The other would be to introduce new legislation reflecting the $5 billion less in national security funding called for in the budget deal.

“I don’t know for certain how it’s going to play out,” he told CQ.

“If we do a fresh bill, those adjustments would be in there,” Thornberry said in reference to new tables that would be prepared. “Either path, it would reflect the $5 billion less, basically, for this year, and that would be the only change really either way,” he said.

Posted on www.defensecommunities.org