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Senate approves adding National Guard chief to Joint Chiefs

An amendment that would add the National Guard chief to the Joint Chiefs of Staff was tacked onto the Defense authorization bill Monday evening.

The amendment, which was sponsored by Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCoalition of 44 groups calls for passage of drug pricing bill A pro-science approach to Yucca Mountain appropriations Senate Dems: Trump making negotiations 'impossible' MORE (D-Vt.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach MORE (R-S.C.), passed in the Senate on a voice vote.

The amendment, if passed into law, would make the Guard head a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A similar provision was included in the House version of the Defense authorization bill.

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“Since 9/11, the National Guard and Reserves have done tremendous work at home and abroad in defense our nation,” Leahy said in a statement after the amendment passed. “They have earned a seat at the table where our most important military decisions are made.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey is opposed to adding the Guard chief. Dempsey, the vice chairman and the service chiefs testified at the Senate Armed Services committee earlier this month urging senators to vote against the plan.

Dempsey said that the Guard chief already sits in for meetings, and that the Guard head does not have the same budget authority as the other service chiefs.

The Guard amendment was one of more than 100 that are included in the Defense authorization bill, which the Senate is considering this week. Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinThe Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence Congress: The sleeping watchdog MORE (D-Mich.) said they hope to have a final vote by Thursday.