Lamborn, Coffman to negotiate defense spending bill

Author: Joey Bunch - June 28, 2018 - Updated: July 5, 2018

DefenseFrom left: U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn (File photos)

Two Colorado congressmen will have a direct hand in crafting a final compromise on the National Defense Authorization Act.

The U.S. House and Senate have each passed spending plans, and now need to work out the differences into a single piece of legislation they can send to the president to sign. Republican Reps. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and Mike Coffman of Aurora were among the 18 House members appointed by House Speaker Paul Ryan to negotiate the compromise.

Lamborn is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, serving since 2007, and sits on the subcommittees on Emerging Threats and Capabilities and Strategic Forces.

Coffman is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, serving on the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee. He also is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he chairs the subcommittee on Strategic Forces and sits on the Military Personnel Subcommittee.

The military spending bill lays out the annual budget, approved expenses and spending policies for the Army, Air Force, Navy and the Marine Corps.

“The NDAA is critical to rebuilding our military and securing a safe future for our country,” Lamborn said in a statement. “It also has a tremendous impact on the greater Colorado Springs community with our five military installations and thriving defense and aerospace industries. I am pleased to join my colleagues in supporting our men and women in uniform and providing the necessary resources to ensure they have the best training and equipment possible to get the job done.”

A veteran of the Army and Marines, Coffman said, “Those of us in Congress have no greater responsibility than providing for the defense of our country and this is an opportunity to have a leadership role in making sure that the United States has the best trained, best led, and best equipped military in the world.”

The Senate passed its version of the bill just last week.

Thr differences are not insurmountable between the Republican-led chambers, according to the U.S. Naval Institute News.

“For instance, the Senate authorizes $7.5 billion to purchase 75 F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, which is two-fewer than what House members authorized in their bill. The House bill also includes a provision allowing the Pentagon to purchase more F-35 aircraft if the program can save enough money through production efficiencies and other cost savings work.”

The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday:

“The question is whether the legislation will hew closely to the priorities in the two versions of the National Defense Authorization Act already passed by the House and Senate. For example, both policy bills are split over purchases of littoral combat ships for the Navy, with the House pushing for three and the Senate calling for just one. Defense industry shipyards in Marinette, Wis., and Mobile, Ala., that build the LCS are warning of layoffs with less than two purchases in 2019. Shelby is from Alabama where Austal USA builds the Independence variant of the ship, and he has indicated support for more than a single buy.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.