Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 23, 2014

Reid Clears Way for Defense Authorization Bill

reid101213 436x335 Reid Clears Way for Defense Authorization Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate passed a compound drug bill by voice vote Monday afternoon, clearing a path to debate the National Defense Authorization Act this week.

Still, some sources questioned whether work on the sweeping annual bill could be completed before the Thanksgiving recess.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the chamber would move forward with a vote on the motion to proceed to the NDAA if Republicans filibuster a judicial nominee as expected on Monday evening.

With senators eager to leave town for the holiday, Reid is operating under a tight time frame to approve the often-controversial measure. Democratic leaders expect complicated battles over a wide range of issues from challenging the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance policy, to Iran sanctions, to how to best handle  sexual assaults in the military. Some have even suggested that leaders append unrelated measures to the bill, such as an increase in the minimum wage.

The administration is expected to further brief leading senators on relevant committees on the status of nuclear talks with Iran, even as more hawkish GOP senators are likely to call for a vote on stricter sanctions.

Senate Armed Services ranking member James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., in his first floor speech since the death of his son Perry, warned members to keep their amendment offerings focused on military issues. Inhofe also addressed the issue of the sequester and its impact on the armed services, another key issue that is sure to come up throughout debate of the bill.

Sources did not know if all of these issues could be tackled in the next three legislative days, but with two major holiday breaks scheduled and Reid having issued assurances that weary staffers actually will get their vacations this year, work will have to wrap relatively quickly in order to guarantee that all the end of the year odds-and-ends get tackled before Christmas.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    MR. REID WHAT ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYED? HAVE YOU WALKED AWAY FROM THEM TOO? THE REPUBLICANS & DEMOCRATIC PARTIES, HAVE FAILED THE MORE THAN 2.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS WHO ARE STILL OUT OF WORK, WITHOUT AN EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, SINCE LATE LAST DECEMBER. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK, BUT HAVE NOT FOUND EMPLOYMENT . DUE TO MANY FACTORS, SUCH AS “AGE” AND POOR ECONOMY, EMPLOYMENT FOR THESE WORKERS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE POLLS SAY, THE ECONOMY HAS NOT IMPROVED, AND MILLIONS OF WORKERS ARE STILL WITHOUT JOBS. SINCE LAST DECEMBER, THE REPUBLICANS HAVE HELD THE EXTENSION BILL “HOSTAGE” IN THE SENATE, FOR POLITICAL LEVERAGE AND PARTY AGENDA. MEANWHILE, THESE MILLIONS OF FAMILIES, HAVE FACED EVICTION, HOME FORECLOSURES, BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE POLITICIANS CONTINUE PLAYING PARTY POLITICS. THE SENATE NEEDS TO PASS THE EXTENSION BILL TO HELP THESE FAMILIES TO FINANCIALLY RECOVER ONCE AGAIN. THESE FAMILIES ARE FACING FINANCIAL RUIN BECAUSE OF THE SIX MONTH DELAY IN BENEFITS.

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