(WASHINGTON, DC) - After being chosen by Speaker Paul Ryan as a core conferee for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) participated in a discussion to work towards finalizing a bill that will establish national security policy, fund the military, and reassert American international leadership.

The NDAA is an annual piece of legislation that authorizes policies and budgets for the Department of Defense (DOD) and other government assets that assist in protecting the homeland and defending American interests. The conference period for this bill is the final phase in the legislative process before it is sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. As a core conferee, Rep. Knight is part of the small, bipartisan, and bicameral group of lawmakers who will have final input in the completion of the bill.

In his opening remarks at today’s discussion, known as “Pass the Gavel,” Rep. Knight highlighted several defense programs that are vital to national security amidst increasingly aggressive foreign state and non-state adversaries.

“I urge all conferees to support an increased top-line necessary to secure bomber modernization across the board, thus ensuring the relevance of our aging bomber fleets.” said Rep. Knight. “Specifically, I urge the conferees to maintain full funding for the B-21 and support B-2 modernization in order to maintain this unique anti-access capability… I also urge conferees to restore F-35 procurement rates to previously planned levels so the United States can maintain the stealth capability and technological edge to ensure American service members ‘don’t fight fair.’”

Rep. Knight also discussed the importance of Women’s Business Centers for national security and defended a provision in the bill that he authored.

“This bill authorizes programs that provide resources and counseling to female entrepreneurs and provides for an accreditation process to avoid fraud and waste,” said Rep. Knight “these are incredibly important provisions that will positively impact our defense industrial base by ensuring a diverse pool of small business innovators.”

The House version of the NDAA authorized $696 billion for national security and funds several programs to modernize the military, increase readiness, and provide the largest military pay raise in 8 years.