Members Preparing Alternative Plan on Defense Bill

House members are hopeful that a bill can be passed this month.

McKeon: One of the last hawks.
National Journal
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Jordain Carney
Dec. 6, 2013, 1:48 a.m.

Top mem­bers on the House and Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices com­mit­tees are work­ing on a Plan B for the an­nu­al de­fense le­gis­la­tion to en­sure a bill can get passed this month, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

Mem­bers face a tight sched­ule, with the Sen­ate re­turn­ing next week and the House sched­uled to ad­journ for the year on Dec. 13. The Sen­ate’s ver­sion of the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act stalled last month after Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats couldn’t reach an agree­ment on the num­ber of amend­ments to be de­bated.

But House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Buck McK­eon, R-Cal­if., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., seemed hope­ful that a scaled-back ver­sion of the NDAA could pass.

“We have to have this done,” Smith said. “A whole lot of bad stuff hap­pens if we don’t pass this by the end of the year, in terms of mil­it­ary pay, in terms of death-be­ne­fit com­pens­a­tion, in terms of mil­it­ary-con­struc­tion pro­jects, and on and on and on.”

Un­der that plan, the House would pass the new bill. The Sen­ate would then have to pass it without amend­ments. But Smith sug­ges­ted that some of the con­tro­ver­sial pro­vi­sions in the House bill could make it in­to the smal­ler le­gis­la­tion.


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