Schumer calls for delay on passage of defense bill amid Iran tensions

Schumer calls for delay on passage of defense bill amid Iran tensions
© Aaron Schwartz

Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerWells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government MORE (D-N.Y.) is doubling down on his call for a vote on an amendment restricting President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE’s ability to go to war with Iran and urging Republicans to delay passage of the defense bill the measure would be attached to until after the Democratic presidential debates. 

Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, argued the entire Senate should be present for a vote on the amendment from Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (D-Va.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHispanic Democrats build capital with big primary wins Senate rejects Paul proposal on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer MORE (D-N.M.), but that several Democratic senators are expected to be absent because of the presidential debates. 

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The amendment would prevent funding from being used for military action against Iran without congressional approval. 

“Considering the gravity of the situation when Iran, Democrats believe the full Senate should be present to vote on the Udall amendment. Leader McConnell is no doubt aware that several members of this body will be absent this week for the democratic presidential debates,” Schumer said. 

He added that the Senate “should wait to have the vote until the full body is present. There’s no rush to complete” the National Defense Authorization Act. 

But the proposal is one of nearly 600 that has been filed to the bill. It’s unclear if any will be allowed to get a vote. Republicans want to wrap up the defense bill by the end of the week. 

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats see immigration reform as topping Biden agenda GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, wouldn’t rule out that Democrats could try to block the bill unless they can get a vote on the Iran amendment.

“If McConnell decides to take a stand against any amendments then we’re going to have to take a whip count,” Durbin said. 

Asked if he thought enough Democrats would vote to block the NDAA if they can’t get a vote on the Iran amendment he added “let’s do the math. They have 53 votes they need seven. We have 47. So the question is can we hold 41 of the 47.”