A key US senator believes Congress will pass a Pentagon policy bill this year, but he cast further doubt on the upper chamber ever taking up its own version of the legislation.
The Senate last year failed to pass its own National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), forcing the chambers’ Armed Services committees to push through a version negotiated behind closed doors.
SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., speaking to reporters here Wednesday morning, would not rule out the possibility of a repeat during a year-ending lame duck session.
“We’re gonna have an authorization bill,” Levin said.
But with a lame duck session slated to last from Nov. 11 until just before the year-end holidays, the prospects for the Senate to take up a SASC-passed defense authorization bill, finish a conference with the House and pass that compromise version are razor thin.
“I don’t think we’ll have time in the lame duck to bring a bill to the floor that’s totally open,” Levin said.
A big reason is that there will be limited time to pass the things Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants before this Congress gavels out. That becomes doubly true if Democrats try to pass specific issues before a possible Republicans takeover of the chamber in January, an event which some pundits say has a 60 percent possibility.