Inhofe pleads with GOP to file defense amendments now

Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) warned Republicans that if they don’t file amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now, they might not get a vote.

“No one should complain later on about not having their amendments heard if they’re not sending them down right now,” Inhofe said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “There is no reason to put it off. We don’t want to go through what we had to last time.”

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Congress has passed a reauthorization of NDAA for 52 consecutive years before the Dec. 31 deadline, but in 2013 it almost didn’t happen. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) waited until the last minute to bring the bill to the floor and Republicans complained there wasn’t enough time to consider their amendments.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Inhofe called on lawmakers earlier this year to start filing amendments now so bipartisan ones could be lumped into a manager’s package.

Inhofe said nearly 100 amendments have been filed to date, but that only 20 are from Republicans.

Levin joined Inhofe on the Senate floor and said he hopes Reid will allow NDAA to be called up when lawmakers return from the August recess in September. He said the likelihood of getting that agreement greatly increases if he could convince Reid that votes on the bill would only take a couple days because a deal on amendment votes had already been reached.

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