Defense policy bill clears final Senate hurdle
© Greg Nash

An annual defense policy bill overcame its last procedural test Wednesday, paving the way for final passage.

The Senate voted 84-14 to end debate on a House-passed shell bill being used as a vehicle for the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It also agreed by a voice vote comprised of only a handful of senators to attach the defense policy bill to the shell. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Wednesday's move sets up a final vote on the bill, which Republicans predicated would occur Thursday.

McCain made a closing pitch for the measure ahead of Wednesday's votes, suggesting the legislation was a necessary "reform bill" for the Defense Department. 

"It is a reform bill," he added. "A reform bill that will enable our military to rise to the challenges of a more dangerous world, both today and in the future." 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) said earlier Wednesday that the vote "puts the Senate on a path to bring the bill to final passage tomorrow." 

Senate Democratic leadership has criticized the defense policy bill because it includes an extra $38 billion in the Pentagon's war fund. But a majority of Democrats have backed the legislation on the procedural votes so far. 

McCain said ahead of Wednesday's votes that if senators voted against the bill because of the funding, "then they have their priorities upside down." 

"I intend to tell the American people about it because I believe that we're not serving the men and women who are serving this country to the best of their ability," he added. 

Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Listen: EMILY’s List upbeat about Dem House in '19 Bolton to spend M boosting Wisconsin Senate candidate MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Commerce sends Trump long-awaited steel report GOP Rep. Jim Renacci announces Ohio Senate bid MORE (D-Ohio), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump Trump's 's---hole' remark sparks bipartisan backlash MORE Dr. (D-Pa.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE (R-Texas), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota EMILY’s List president: Franken did 'right thing for Minnesota' Dem pledges to ask all court nominees about sexual harassment history under oath MORE (D-Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTrump thinks he could easily beat Sanders in 2020 match-up: report Listen: EMILY’s List upbeat about Dem House in '19 Desperate Democrats shouldn't settle for Oprah MORE (D-N.Y.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle McConnell to Dems: Don't hold government 'hostage' over DACA Nielsen acknowledges Trump used 'tough language' in immigration meeting MORE (D-Vt.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMcConnell to Dems: Don't hold government 'hostage' over DACA Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Senate campaign fundraising reports roll in MORE (D-W.Va.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals Dems say they have 50 votes in Senate to overrule net neutrality repeal MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyEarly tax bill reality very different than Democratic rhetoric Senate GOP seeks to change rules for Trump picks Dem senators tear into Trump: Tax bill 'a very big Christmas gift from Trump to himself' MORE (D-Ore.), Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) Former Sanders campaign manager: Don't expect email list to be shared with DNC Adult film star: Trump and Stormy Daniels invited me to 'hang out' MORE (I-Vt.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Trump is a 'racist bully' Poll: Oprah would outperform Warren, Harris against Trump in California Democrats continue to dismiss positive impacts of tax reform MORE (D-Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWeek ahead: Senate takes up surveillance bill This week: Time running out for Congress to avoid shutdown Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump MORE (D-Ore.) didn't vote to move forward with the bill.