The Senate sent the bill to the president’s desk for the 52nd straight year in an 84-15 vote.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he would support the bill even without amendments.
The senator in charge of negotiating a spending package for the Pentagon based on the Ryan-Murray budget said Thursday that he is looking to evenly distribute $22 billion in new spending cuts.
The majority leader brushed aside complaints he was jamming the bill through the Senate.
The 71-29 vote sets the stage for a final vote late Thursday.
The budget deal poised to pass this week won’t fix the defense industry’s sequestration woes if it isn’t followed by a larger agreement to reverse the rest of the sequester cuts, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) CEO Marion Blakey said Wednesday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for waiting to take up the Defense authorization bill until the end of the year.
The National Defense Authorization Act was passed out of committee back in June. The Senate is expected to pass the last-minute bipartisan deal Thursday.
“Under the Democrat Majority, this bill has basically languished since the summer — 6 months have elapsed since the Armed Services Committee first reported the NDAA out for floor action,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Now, with just days to go before Christmas ... the majority wants to rush this crucial legislation through without the debate it deserves.”
At least six Republicans say they will vote to end debate on the measure.
Shaheen joined the effort to block the cuts to military pensions included in the budget deal.
Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee don’t see any significant obstacles that would prevent 60 votes on the Defense authorization bill on the heels of Tuesday’s 67-33 budget deal vote.