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An amendment to the annual defense authorization bill that would elevate the Pentagon’s top cyber unit to a standalone warfighting entity will likely not get a vote, congressional sources say.  

The amendment, from a bipartisan group of eight senators, would bring the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act in line with the House-passed version, which already includes the provision.

{mosads}Supporters of the move will instead look to the conference process to hammer out the discrepancy between the two texts, sources say.

The amendment appeared to have wide support from lawmakers, as well as Adm. Michael Rogers, the unit’s head. He said last month that elevating the unit to a full combatant command would make it more nimble and “generate better mission outcomes.”

Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and ranking member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) both signaled their support for the idea during an April hearing on the unit.

But the White House opposes a statutory requirement to elevate the unit.

The administration, which is threatening a veto on the House version of the bill, argues that the secretary of Defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “should retain the flexibility to recommend to the President changes to the unified command plan that they believe would most effectively organize the military to address an ever-evolving threat environment.”

The upper chamber is lumbering towards the finish line on the annual defense policy bill, but many of the hundreds of amendments filed to the “must-pass” legislation will never see a vote.

As of Thursday morning, the Senate had taken a roll call vote on only three, while approving slightly more than a dozen others by a voice vote.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned senators earlier this week that they would finish the policy bill, even if it meant staying in session Friday.

Tags Jack Reed John McCain Mitch McConnell

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