WASHINGTON — Two of the US Senate’s old bulls squared off on the chamber floor Thursday morning, trading barbs over the fate of a Pentagon policy bill.
Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., were part of the freshman class that took office on Jan. 3, 1987. Over their 28-year stints in the upper chamber, the two have done battle many times.
Now, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman and minority leader are leading a partisan squabble over McCain’s 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The SASC chairman’s annual Pentagon policy bill includes an $88.4 billion overseas contingency operations (OCO) account. McCain grudgingly accepted GOP leaders’ decision to add $38 billion in essentially base-budget dollars to the war fund, concluding it was the only way to get the military more funding to offset spending caps.
Reid and other congressional Democrats call the move a “gimmick.” They also want more funding for domestic programs.
President Barack Obama also opposes the move and wants domestic spending hikes, saying he would veto any measure that adheres to spending caps or gives DoD more funding without assurances of the same for domestic programs.