Other measures in the bill ought to attract broad bipartisan support. The effects on defense of the so-called sequester would be eased by transferring money to operations and training from less essential accounts, such as construction and staffing in office headquarters. The Pentagon is still vulnerable to a $50 billion sequester cut in January unless a separate budget deal can head it off. But passage of the authorization act would prevent the worst disruptions of ongoing operations.
Normally legislation like this would quickly attract leadership support, but House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has yet to commit to bringing the bill to the floor of his chamber, where the process must begin.
He may worry about a rank-and-file revolt; there is also pressure from senators who wish to attach additional amendments, including a controversial new sanctions measure against Iran. Mr. Boehner should move forward: He should not allow this to become the first year in a half-century when Congress did not provide for the national defense.