House could vote on Defense bill Thursday

The House could vote on the Defense authorization bill on Thursday under a legislative procedure to quickly move non-controversial bills, according to multiple House aides.

The vote on the Defense bill would occur under a suspension process, which requires a two-thirds vote for passage.

ADVERTISEMENT

The timing for the vote still remains “very fluid,” however, and it has not been finalized, according to the aides. A vote on the $607 billion Pentagon policy bill could slip to Friday.

But at this point, there’s nothing suggesting the House won’t move forward with the plan from the House and Senate Armed Services committees to pass their informal conference agreement without amendments.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office, which controls the House calendar, declined to comment.

The path is rockier in the Senate, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the plan on Tuesday, accusing Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of trying to dodge a vote on Iran sanctions.

The plan from the Armed Services panels would not allow the Senate to consider its amendments on the floor, as the Defense bill was filibustered by Republicans before Thanksgiving.

The “big four” leaders of the Armed Services committees hashed out a final bill during the recess, which they now want to pass without alterations.

The defense lawmakers say there isn’t time to amend the bill because the House is leaving for the year on Friday and passing a bill through regular order is impossible in that time frame.

The House passed its Defense authorization bill in June.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinRemembering leaders who put country above party Strange bedfellows oppose the filibuster Listen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home MORE (D-Mich.) and his House counterpart, Rep. Buck McKeonHoward (Buck) Philip McKeonBottom Line Trump pick brings scrutiny to 'revolving door' between Pentagon, industry Bottom line MORE (R-Calif.), argue that Defense authorization bill, which has been enacted for 51 straight years, must pass this year.

It will get drowned out in the crowded legislative calendar next year, they say, and there are several provisions like special pay and bonuses for troops that expire at the end of the year.