Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin said no floor time has yet been set for a Pentagon policy bill. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — US Senate leaders have yet to schedule floor time for the Armed Services Committee’s 2015 Pentagon policy bill as the panel’s chairman wants to avoid a sequel to last year’s chaotic late-year passage.
SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told CongressWatch on Wednesday he has no indication when the panel’s version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will hit the upper chamber floor.
The committee passed its version of the bill on May 22, which would clear the Pentagon to spend $514 billion in its base 2015 budget.
Levin said he wants to avoid a repeat of last year, when the bill sat idle for months before a version hastily negotiated by SASC and House Armed Services leaders and senior staff finally passed in December after a fight between Democrats and Republicans over amendments and process.
Since then, the two parties have continued to battle over amendments, meaning the NDAA could again become victim to the political squabble.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has accused Republicans of reneging on agreements about amendments, and proposing new ones out of the blue after he has agreed to others.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on May 6 took to the floor to charge that “the Senate has had eight votes since [last] July on amendments that we wished to vote on.”
Agreements on amendments can sink legislation in the Senate because 60 votes are required to end debate and move to a final vote. The Democrats control the chamber, but are five votes shy of the 60-vote threshold.