WASHINGTON — The Senate Armed Services Committee is planning its markup of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act the week of May 20, outpacing the House for the first time in years.

Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla, and ranking member, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., announced the timeline together on Tuesday

The timing is a bid to establish a $750 billion top line for the defense policy bill ahead of the Democratic-led House Armed Services Committee, which is likely to hold its markup using a $733 billion top line backed by lead House Democrats.

“You can’t just wait around. We have to get our authorization and appropriations done,” Inhofe told reporters last week, quipping: “If we have to drag the House behind us, we will make every effort to do that.”

The HASC’s markup is expected in early June, the top Republican in the House, Rep. Mac Thornberry, D-Texas, told reporters Tuesday. No date has been announced.

As in years past, nearly all the panel’s markups will be conducted at the “secret level” and will therefore be closed to the press and public, according to the SASC announcement. Only the SASC Personnel Subcommittee will be open.

“You’re taking about things, defending the nation, where we are competing with China and Russia, and we don’t want them to know what you’re doing,” Inhofe said last week.

The NDAA will be considered in subcommittee on the following dates:

  • May 20: Readiness, Airland, and Strategic Forces subcommittees.
  • May 21 Cybersecurity, Seapower, Personnel, and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittees.

The full committee is due to consider the NDAA on May 22, as well as May 23 if needed.

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

More In Congress