Asked about the hold, Dempsey’s spokesman, Col. Edward Thomas, said, “The chairman respects the confirmation process and, if confirmed for another two-year term, will be honored to serve at the pleasure of the president and with the consent of Congress."
Defense appropriations bill on hold over amendments: The Defense appropriations bill was further delayed on Thursday as House Republican leaders grappled with handling amendments to the bill — and getting a rule that could pass on the House floor.
The Rules Committee postponed a meeting scheduled for Thursday to take up the rule to the Defense bill, and it has not yet been rescheduled.
Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) indicated earlier in the week that the committee might adopt a rule limiting amendments that receive votes on the floor, as there are concerns over amendments trying to defund the NSA’s surveillance programs or limit President Obama’s options in Syria.
A defense industry source with knowledge of the deliberations told The Hill that the latest delay was due to leadership concerns that a structured rule that limits amendments could not pass.
There have been 173 amendments filed to the bill as of Thursday, including eight on limiting military aid or action in Syria, and three that would restrict the NSA’s surveillance funding.
Levin says NDAA ‘unlikely’ in July: It’s unlikely the Defense authorization bill will come to the Senate floor in July — though there’s still a slim chance, Levin said Thursday.
The Armed Services chairman told reporters that the majority leader’s staff has told him they want to bring the bill up “as soon as possible,” but that probably won’t be until after the August recess.
“My own between-the-lines assessment is it’s unlikely it’s going to happen with all the things going on,” Levin said.
Levin said he hadn’t spoken recently with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about the timing of the annual defense policy bill.
Sexual battery charge dropped against prevention officer: Sexual battery charges were dropped on Thursday against the Air Force’s former top sexual assault prevention officer, who was instead charged with generic assault.
The prosecutor still intends to pursue charges of assault, rather than sexual battery, which both carry a maximum sentence of one year.
The sexual battery charges filed in May against Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, who was the Air Force’s chief sexual assault prevention officer, sparked widespread outrage in Congress and helped fuel momentum to change the military’s approach to sexual assault.
Krusinski’s attorney said that Thursday’s developments should give people “pause before we make premature judgments about pending criminal cases before trial.”
“Charging decisions such as this one must be based on the facts and the law of each individual case, not on politics or the desire to have a ‘teachable moment’ concerning issues such as sexual abuse in the military,” attorney Barry Coburn said in a statement.
In Case You Missed It:
— McCain threatens hold on Dempsey
— McCain rebukes Dempsey for policy ‘pirouettes’
— Judge allows ‘aiding the enemy’ charge against Manning
— Sequestration looms large over Dempsey hearing
— McCain, Graham meet with Obama at White House
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