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WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, will have his name attached to the lower chamber’s National Defense Authorization Act, part of a longstanding tradition to honor current and former chairs upon their retirement.
“Mac’s commitment to the men and women in uniform and their families remains as fervent as the day he arrived in Washington,” said Chairman Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat who offered the amendment to honor Thornberry, now the ranking member of the committee. “He has advocated for smart reforms that ensure our service members have the resources they need to make our country safer, while backing programs that provide support to the families who serve alongside them. Mac leaves a legacy that will be with us long after he has departed Congress.”
The $740.5 billion bill, named the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, was approved unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives last Wednesday night.
“There’s a lot about this job I’m not going to miss, to tell you the truth,” Thornberry said. “But I will miss the chance to work with members of this committee, not knowing who is a Republican or a Democrat, traveling around the world, meeting with troops, listening to them, trying to listen, learn and solve problems to make this country more secure. I’ll miss that.”
Thornberry served on the Armed Services Committee his entire tenure. He was vice chairman of the committee from 2011 to 2015 before becoming the first Texan of either party to chair the committee after the retirement of Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
Thornberry, who announced last September he would not seek reelection, lost his chairmanship to Smith after Democrats reclaimed control of the House in 2019.
The bill will still face an uphill battle through Congress and was even threatened with a veto from President Donald Trump over an amendment approved Wednesday that would require the Pentagon to rename military bases and other properties that bear the names of Confederate figures.