Roger Zakheim, director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation & Institute, discusses goals and challenges for the new House Armed Services leadership, and why passing the next Defense Authorization Act could be complicated.
Because the Democrats have taken control of the House, the relationship between the White House and congressional committees could become more adversarial in 2019. Roger Zakheim, director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation & Institute, says that the change represents a new reality for the Trump Administration. “The HASC remains bipartisan, I don’t expect that to change, but what you inevitably get when you have one party with the majority in the House and the other party with the White House is there’s going to be a lot of oversight, a lot of scrutiny and a lot of opportunities to challenge the president’s agenda,” Zakheim said. Zakheim told Government Matters that the biggest challenge on the horizon is getting the next National Defense Authorization Act passed. “I would expect, for the most part, the schedule to hold. For example, Chairman Thornberry, to clear things up a bit he brought the Secretary of Defense in for his posture hearing late in the oversight calendar, giving the committee an opportunity to continue to study and look at the budgets. By the time the secretary came, they were far more familiar with the details. We’ll see if Chairman Smith does the same thing,” Zakheim said. “For the NDAA, the question is not when the Armed Services Committee will pass their bill, but when the full House chooses to take it up and when the Senate is ready to negotiate. Those are things that could very much change with the Democratic majority in the House and the Republican majority in the Senate”