The Senate on Wednesday tabled a comprehensive defense policy bill over an initial hurdle after hours of haggling behind the scenes.
The Senate voted 84-15 to move the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) toward a floor debate that could begin as early as Thursday.
The vote was originally scheduled to take place Wednesday morning, but Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer Bottom Line Christie: Trump’s Rhetoric on Stolen Election Leads to Attack January 6 Senate Republicans Encourage Colleagues to Reject Bills on Public Spending Without Border Financing MORE (DN.Y.) delayed the vote as Republicans threatened to block the bill because Schumer wanted to include anti-China competitiveness legislation in the Defense Act.
That roadblock kept the bill in limbo for hours Wednesday.
Some Republicans are opposed to including competitiveness legislation in the Defense Act, while others felt that Schumer was trying to make changes to Chinese legislation to remove trade languages, which were included when the Senate passed the bill earlier this year.
Instead, Schumer and the President of the House Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBlack Caucus eager to see BBB cross the finish line in House Hoyer: Vote on .75T spending package likely Thursday or Friday Feehery: The next Republican wave is coming MORE (D-Calif.) Announced Wednesday night that they had reached an agreement to attend a conference on the Competitiveness Bill.
The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support earlier this year, but has stalled in the House, where there are competing proposals.
The agreement to open formal negotiations on the China bill also released the Defense Act. Management must now work through hundreds of amendments to find out which potential amendments can get a vote.
Democrats hope to end the defense bill before heading to the Thanksgiving holiday, an ambitious goal given that the bill usually takes about two weeks to reach a final vote, or alternatively have a way to end the bill when they return. .
“I think what we would like to do would be to finish the NDAA before Thanksgiving so it could be later this week, it could be until Friday or Saturday, it could be early next week,” said the senator. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense & National Security – Presented by Boeing – Senators will take up defense proposal Wednesday Democrats consider cutting into Thanksgiving break amid heaps Schumer: The time is ‘now’ to repeal the Iraq war resolution MORE (D-Va.). “The leader said he really wanted to either get the NDAA completed before Thanksgiving or get it all done before a final vote.”