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 LeahyDem senator mocks Pruitt over alleged security threats: 'Nobody even knows who you are' Pruitt tells senators: ‘I share your concerns about some of these decisions’ Protesters hold up 'fire him' signs behind Pruitt during hearing MORE (D-Vt.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Graham: Trump will 'end North Korea’s threat to the American homeland' in his first term Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting 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.

“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 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.) said they hope to have a final vote by Thursday.