Senators Say Chamber Must Act On Key Defense Bill

“Don’t mess up the one thing that you can count on the Senate to do in a bipartisan way every year. A Senate that cannot do this hardly deserves the title.”

So said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) this weekend regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a must-pass bill setting policy for the U.S. military for the coming year. The first NDAA was passed in 1961, and in the six decades since, the Senate has never failed to pass it for the next year. (Last year’s NDAA was vetoed by then-President Trump when he objected to a provision renaming military bases that honor former Confederate generals, as well as the lack of a provision to deprive social media companies of liability protections. It resulted in the sole successful override of a veto of the Trump presidency.)

In recent years, NDAA have regularly passed the Senate with more than 80 votes in favor, and passed the House with more than 340 “yes” votes. But Politico reports that the Senate “is at a standstill on the legislation. Several Republicans have delayed the process as they push for votes on their amendments to the bill, and Democratic leaders didn’t begin the floor process for the bill until this week — far later than in past years.”

Most senators want to get this essential job done. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) told reporters, “The reality is, most of us work together and most of us get along. The issue is, we have some outliers on both sides whose sole goal is obstruction. And we need to hold them accountable so the rest of us can get onto the business at hand for the United States.”

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