McConnell aims to wrap up defense bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (Ky.) is inching the Senate toward the finish line on an annual wide-ranging defense policy bill. 

The Senate Republican leader moved to end debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday night. The $602 billion defense authorization broadly outlines policy for the Pentagon and military branches.
 
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Unless senators can get a deal to speed things up, McConnell's move sets up an initial vote as soon as Friday. Senators will need 60 votes to move forward with the defense legislation. 
 
 
"We are negotiating several contentious issues, which if those negotiations are successful, I would anticipate a number of votes tomorrow morning. If we are unable to, then it's going to stretch out into the afternoon or even the next day for final passage," said McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee. 
 
McConnell warned senators earlier this week that they would finish the policy bill even if it meant staying in session on Friday.
 
Hundreds of amendments have been filed to the "must-pass" legislation. So far, the Senate has taken a roll call vote on three, while approving more than a dozen others by a voice vote. 
 
Lawmakers are expected to take votes on at least two more amendments Thursday. 
 
Democrats, however, are warning that they won't support an amendment from McCain to increase defense spending unless Republicans agree to increase non-defense funding. 

“Americans share many common values. One of the most fundamental is if you make a commitment, you should keep it,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said earlier Wednesday. “Republicans are demanding billions more for the Pentagon but refuse to give an extra penny for the middle class."

Democrats want to attach a measure from Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedNew York Times: Trump mulling whether to replace Mattis after midterms Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war Senators press Trump administration on Yemen civil war MORE (D-R.I.) to McCain's amendment. The proposal would increase non-defense spending by $18 billion and pave the way for $1.9 billion in Zika funding and boosting security in the Middle East.