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 LevinA package proposal for repatriation Silencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate GOP going nuclear over Gorsuch might destroy filibuster forever MORE (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCainJohn McCainFather of slain Navy SEAL wants investigation A stronger NATO for a safer world Drug importation won't save dollars or lives 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 ReidSanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs 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.