Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. ()
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Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., vowed late last year to begin passing annual spending bills, but it has not happened. Most recently, Mikulski and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., pieced together a three-bill ďminibus.Ē Reid pulled the bill, however, when Republicans objected and accused him of preventing votes on their amendments. Democrats screamed anew about GOP obstruction. CongressWatch asked key senators if the chamber can pass a stand-alone 2015 defense appropriations bill.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Q. Do you see the committeeís 2015 defense appropriations bill getting a floor vote, or do you think the amendments fight will kill it?
A. I think itís the one piece of legislation that we should [take up]. We just need an open amendment process.
Q. What are the chances of Reid allowing that kind of process?
A. Probably small. But if you canít get back to being the Senate, what good are you being in charge of the Senate? I donít think itís a good talking point going into the 2014 [midterm congressional] elections that the Senate works this way.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
Q. Given the recent problems with agreeing to a process to pass spending bills, do you think the 2015 defense appropriations bill will even get to the floor? Or will this process fight prevent that?
A. It will get to the floor.
Q. As a stand-alone bill, or will it most likely have to be part of a governmentwide continuing resolution (CR) or an omnibus appropriations bill?
A. I donít know about that. I just donít know. But it will get to the floor.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Q. Youíre working to get the 2015 national defense authorization act to the floor, but what are the prospects for a defense appropriations bill?
A. Well, I think thatís less likely, to tell you the truth.
Q. Would a defense spending bill have to, at this point in the legislative year, ride on a CR or omnibus?
A. I donít know. Because I donít know what [Reid] is doing. I mean, we take up the [Bipartisan Sportsmanís Act of 2014] ... but not the defense authorization bill. You canít make that up.