“We should work together and complete this important bill before the Thanksgiving holiday,” he added.
Prompt debate and voting on amendments require both parties to sign. It is not immediately clear how quickly a bipartisan agreement on changes can be reached.
GOP sounds from: Kentucky Republican leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, presented his party’s own designs – including votes on amendments that would impose sanctions on the Russian-built Nord Stream 2 pipeline, supply Ukraine with more money for weapons and clarify that Afghanistan- aid cannot flow to the Taliban.
On the floor, McConnell delivered a biased broadside against President Joe Biden and the Democrats, in which he, among other things, rapped the administration over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover and kept pace with Chinese military modernization.
“I’m glad we’ll finally be able to have these debates and these votes,” McConnell said. “America needs a course correction, and the Senate must deliver it.”
Where the NDAA stands: The Senate voted 84-15 Wednesday night to speed up the start of the debate on the bill, but a vote to formally begin the debate is not planned.
Democrats and Republicans spent most of Wednesday haggling over the content of a potential replacement amendment to the bill, with the parties disagreeing on Schumer’s push to include major U.S.-Chinese competitiveness legislation. GOP senators had warned they would oppose procedural votes if Schumer pushed for the measure to be included without a separate up-or-down vote.
The House’s democratic leaders are also against aspects of China’s bill, making it a risky venture to inject it into defense legislation.
The issue was resolved when Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to negotiate a Chinese bill separately outside the NDAA process.
Democrats are looking for weekend work, or may want to cut into next week’s Thanksgiving holiday to finish work on the Defense Act.
AUMF debate: The Democratic leader also stressed the need to vote on an amendment to repeal the Iraq war permit from 2002. The move to repeal the law, along with other decades-old war authorizations, as a first step in reclaiming congressional prerogatives on military forces has achieved bipartisan support.
Despite the bipartisan appeal to scrub the outdated Iraqi authorization, McConnell saw the push as a move that would give the United States less military flexibility in the Middle East.
“I expect a robust debate on that,” McConnell said.