Senate continues amendment work on defense bill Friday; final passage likely next week

McCain said nearly 400 amendments were filed and many that are left are duplicative or non-germane. 

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“I ask my colleagues to think seriously about their amendments and how they can be consolidated,” McCain said.

Levin said once the final list of amendments is complied, senators will have time to object, but he hopes it doesn’t come to that.

On Thursday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) threatened to filibuster the remaining votes until he was allowed to call up his own amendment, which would prohibit a mental illness diagnosis from stopping veterans from owning guns, unless they are deemed mentally ill by a judge. It’s unsure if his amendment will be allowed on the finite list.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) objected to allowing a vote on Coburn’s amendment late Thursday night.

The Senate is schedule to continue amendment work on the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254, Friday, although no more votes are likely to be held.

At the beginning of the week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he had hoped to complete all work on the bill by the end of this week, but it looks like amendments requiring roll-call votes and final passage will be put on hold until Monday.

The defense bill funds U.S. military operation and has passed for the past 50 years.

Amendment 3052, introduced by McCain, passed by unanimous consent or voice-vote. His proposal would require the Department of Defense to conduct a comprehensive review of the national defense strategy, force structure, force modernization plans, infrastructure, budget plan and other elements of the defense program and policies of the United States with regard to the Asia Pacific region to determine the resources, equipment and transportation required to meet the strategic and operational plans of the United States.

Amendments 3075, 3133, 3182, 3183, 3233, 3236, 3248 and 3283 also passed. For more information on them click here.