Levin: Still no floor time for defense bill

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinA lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies President Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism MORE (D-Mich.) on Tuesday said that Senate leaders still have yet to schedule time to take up next year's defense authorization bill.

“I have no way of knowing when the leader’s going to find a place for it,” Levin told reporters, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE (D-Nev.). He added that he’s spoken to Reid regularly about the policy bill and “he knows of the importance of it.”

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Levin and Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenators tear into controversial Trump environment nominee McCain backs Pentagon nominee despite concerns over defense industry ties GOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate MORE (R-Okla.), the panel’s ranking member, unveiled their $514 billion take on the Pentagon budget blueprint on May 22. The bill was reported out of committee by a 25-1 vote.

Two weeks ago, Levin and Inhofe called on their colleagues to offer amendments to the authorization bill. Levin warned against a repeat of the 2013 process where lawmakers scrambled at the end of the session to mark up the bill, leaving senators unable to vote on any amendments.

“We have an awful lot of work ahead of us. We don't have a long time to do it,” he said during a Senate floor speech.
 
Levin would not rule out that the chamber taking up the policy bill some time in July.

Meanwhile, the House has already passed its version of the policy measure, along with a $491 billion Defense Department spending bill.

Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman Dick (Durbin (D-Ill.) has said he expects the panel will take up its draft of the spending bill in early July.