On Dec. 7, the House of Representatives passed a finalized version of the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 363 to 70. The compromise bill, negotiated by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, incorporates elements of the version that passed the House in September and legislation approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee in July.
Notably, the NDAA agreement removes several harmful labor provisions opposed by Associated Builders and Contractors from the previous version of the bill. The provisions addressing debarment procedures for federal contractors, apprenticeship requirements and local hire mandates were stripped from the bill after a conference between the two chambers.
ABC is pleased that the newly agreed text excludes these provisions, as it previously expressed concerns with the House-passed version of the bill in October and sent a letter with a coalition of construction and small business associations to Congress last week.
The NDAA now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to also gain bipartisan support before heading to the president’s desk for signature.
On the same day, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow the Senate to raise the debt limit with a simple majority, or 51 votes, while also delaying Medicare sequestration cuts. This effort to address the debt limit comes just over a week before the Department of Treasury’s Dec. 15 deadline, where Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said the United States might not be able to pay all its bills, increasing the risk of going into default. The bill’s now headed to the Senate, where it will require 60 votes to clear the chamber.