Senators: Chamber could take up DOD bill before Thanksgiving

The Senate could take up its version of a Pentagon policy bill before Thanksgiving, two key senators said Tuesday.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinHow House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe Congress dangerously wields its oversight power in Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate MORE (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Pompeo lays out new Iran terms | Pentagon hints at more aggressive posture against Iran | House, Senate move on defense bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Sarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ MORE (R-Ariz.) hinted during a panel hearing that the upper chamber could act on the 2012 defense authorization bill in the next two weeks.

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The legislation has been held up for months because Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) and the White House object to a provision included by the Armed Services Committee on terrorist detainee policy.

But Levin said the Pentagon legislation should hit the floor "in the next few weeks," suggesting the impasse has nearly been smoothed out.

Administration officials and many congressional Democrats say new detainee language should allow some terrorism suspects to be transferred to U.S. soil and tried in federal courts.

Many Republicans support prohibiting the transfer of terrorism suspects from the Guantánamo Bay detention facility to the United States to be tried in the federal court system.

The Armed Services Committee, after closed-door debate this summer, agreed to detainee provisions that would allow for indefinite detention of suspects aligned with al Qaeda and similar groups. The detainee language would make it mandatory that terrorism suspects be held in military custody, while also setting restrictions on the transfer of detainees to the civilian court system.

For his part, Reid has promised to iron out the matter and finish the bill this year.