Levin pessimistic about July floor debate for Defense bill

The House passed its version of the Defense authorization bill last week.

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The timing of the Defense authorization bill, considered a “must-pass” piece of legislation, is frequently questionable in the Senate after it passes the committee, whether because of contentious provisions, the Senate’s slow-moving calendar or that it’s an election year.

The past two years, the authorization bill has slipped to November and December in the Senate, sparking concerns that the bill’s streak of passing 51 straight years could be broken.

Levin said that he didn’t anticipate the delay would be that long this year. “I’m not talking anything that bad,” he said Tuesday.

Part of the reason it’s difficult for the bill to get on the calendar is it often takes several days to debate and always receives hundreds of amendments.

House Armed Services Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) sought to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week, calling on Reid to immediately bring the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the floor because of the sexual assault reforms included.

“The sexual assault reforms we propose will make a real difference for victims and will make needed cultural change,” McKeon said. “There is no reason to make these victims wait for vital reform and I urge Senator Reid to bring the NDAA to the Senate floor immediately."

Reid is focused this month on getting the immigration bill passed in the Senate, making it highly unlikely he’ll take off several days to do the Defense bill.