Senate’s move to cybersecurity means no defense bill before recess

“Unless some unexpected disaster occurred to cyber, it can’t come up,” Levin said. “Until this vote today, there was still a good chance.”

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The Defense authorization bill passed the Armed Services panel in May, at which time Levin and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) perhaps overly optimistically predicted it would get on the floor by June or July.

Levin said earlier this month he remained hopeful about the bill’s chances of coming up before the August recess, while McCain took to the floor multiple times to assail Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) for pushing political bills to the floor instead of the defense bill.

McCain also complained this week when Reid indicated he would move forward with the cybersecurity legislation.

Reid’s reluctance to bring the authorization bill to the floor isn’t about partisanship, as the measure has passed for 50 years straight. But it would eat up several days of floor time with a number of potentially prickly amendments, and could spark a fight over the Budget Control Act Reid is not interested in having.

Those same issues could stall the bill further in September when Congress returns, although Levin said he will push for the bill to get floor time then.

“He knows how strongly I feel about it,” Levin said of Reid.

The House passed its Defense authorization bill in May.


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