By Jeremy Herb and Carlo Muñoz - 11/26/12 11:00 PM EST
Muñoz is traveling on assignment for the U.S. Naval Institute, where he is looking at Navy-led provincial reconstruction teams working along the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border.
Defense bill’s fate remains unclear: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that negotiations are still ongoing to bring the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the floor.
Reid said that Republicans were having “disagreements among themselves” on the NDAA, a reference to Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) filibuster threat over his proposed amendment to curb indefinite detention by the military for U.S. citizens.
Reid moved to other bills on Monday, and said that the defense bill could be brought up again on Wednesday if the disagreements can be resolved.
Reid left it up to the heads of the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to find a way forward.
Levin and McCain are looking to limit the number of amendments — hundreds can be filed on the wide-ranging Pentagon policy bill — as they seek to complete the bill in three days.
They are facing a time crunch trying to finish the lame-duck session and ensure they continue a streak of passing the bill for 50 straight years.
The House passed its defense authorization bill in May.
AIA wants ‘balanced’ solution: The Aerospace Industries Association, the defense industry’s leading trade group in Washington, called for a “balanced solution” to the "fiscal cliff" Monday as lawmakers returned to Washington.
The trade group has warned for months of the dangers that the across-the-board sequestration cuts would have on the defense industry, and is now lobbying Congress to find a solution that averts the $55 billion in spending cuts to defense in 2013.
AIA CEO Marion Blakey said in a statement Monday that the industry was “encouraged” by the negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders, and urged the parties to focus on an approach that includes “adequate revenue and entitlement reform.”
As the lame-duck talks have begun, defense industry leaders have expressed concerns their interests will be shut out of the deliberations because the biggest debate is over taxes, and not defense spending.
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