GOP lawmaker pushes Reid to move more quickly on Defense bill

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for pledging to take up a Pentagon policy bill, but criticized him for failing to do so sooner.

Reid on Wednesday said on the Senate floor the chamber would finish its version of Defense authorization legislation by the end of this year.

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"I am pleased to have Senator Reid's commitment that we will have a defense bill this year," McKeon said in a statement Wednesday. 

From there, however, the Armed Services chairman's tone changed.

"The House and Senate Armed Services committees have worked hard to produce a serious piece of legislation," McKeon said. "But once again, the Senate majority leader has not made it a priority to pass either a Defense appropriations or authorization bill before the end of the fiscal year, even though we continue to have troops in harm’s way."

Reid on Tuesday scolded GOP senators for accusing him of dragging his feet on the Defense bills, saying their floor tactics had created a legislative backlog.

The majority leader questioned how Republicans could call for "regular order" for the Defense bill after delaying other bills for months.

McKeon called for just that.

"We should return to regular legislative order and pass the authorizations for vital national security programs," McKeon said. "While Sen. Reid has promised to bring the bill to the floor, I would urge him to do so sooner rather than later."