Levin doubts defense vote this month

The full Senate will likely not vote on the 2015 defense policy bill before lawmakers adjourn next week, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinInspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely America's divide widens: Ignore it no longer MORE (D-Mich.) said Wednesday.

“It’s not official. I’m going to continue to work on one key thing — that is to come up with a [unanimous consent] that has a limited number of relevant amendments agreed to,” he told reporters. “That’s the goal.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Levin, who is retiring, said he would continue to work with Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (Okla.), the panel’s top Republican, and, if they can come up with a compromise, “then I’m not giving up this week.”

The committee unveiled its draft of the 2015 national defense authorization bill in May, but it has yet to receive any floor time.

Congress has passed a Defense Department policy roadmap for 52 consecutive years before the Dec. 31 deadline, but in 2013 it almost didn’t happen.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill MORE (D-Nev.) waited until the last minute to bring the bill to the floor, and Republicans howled there wasn’t enough time to consider their amendments.

This year, Levin and Inhofe have repeatedly called on their colleagues to start filing amendments early so bipartisan ones could be wrapped into a manager’s package. Around 140 amendments have been attached to the 2015 policy bill.

Levin said the Senate could move the legislation “in a day or two,” but that the process has become “more complicated” due to the ongoing debate on if there should be a vote authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

He wouldn’t say when he would rule out the chances for a September vote.

“I learned about red lines a long time ago. I don’t do red lines,” he told reporters. “I don’t give up hope."