House, Senate Lawmakers Hope to Finalize Major Defense Legislation in Advance of July 4 Recess

House, Senate Lawmakers Hope to Finalize Major Defense Legislation in Advance of July 4 Recess

Lawmakers are moving forward with two major defense bills this week as they try to pass the hefty legislative packages before they leave for their Fourth of July recess.

The GOP-led Senate begins floor debate Tuesday on its $750 billion version of the 2020 NDAA, though growing disputes over several of close to 600 amendments to the mandatory annual defense bill could derail the measure, CQ reported Monday.

Contentious issues including Pentagon support at the U.S.-Mexico border, authority for President Donald Trump to launch a military campaign against Iran, and a repeal of the president’s current military authorizations elsewhere in the Middle East could disrupt the bill’s timely passage, according to the report.

Last week Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) initiated an uncommon procedural tactic that could prevent other amendments from receiving a vote unless he receives a vote on his proposals, The Hill reported.  Paul has six amendments to the NDAA, including a move to repeal the 2001 war authorization that would withdraw the U.S. from Afghanistan within a year. The mandatory NDAA makes it attractive for attaching amendments, of which traditionally few receive floor votes.

In the Democrat-led House lawmakers are continuing debate on a second $400 billion minibus package. The bill includes including the $108 billion fiscal 2020 VA-Milcon appropriations bill that includes a controversial provision blocking DOD funding for building a southern border barrier.

Last week the chamber passed its own $733 billion defense measure, setting up looming conference negotiations later this summer to try to resolve the $17 billion difference in Senate and House defense spending levels.

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