Senate passes $700B defense bill

Senate passes $700B defense bill
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The Senate easily cleared a nearly $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday, despite a fight over amendments that slowed down the legislation. 

Senators voted 89-8 on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes roughly $640 billion in base defense spending and $60 billion in war funds. 

Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Tenn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-N.Y.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Senators ask FDA to crack down on non-dairy milks, cheeses Lawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent MORE (D-Vt.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe self-fulfilling Iran prophecy No patriotic poll bump for Trump, but Soleimani strike may still help him politically Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it MORE (R-Utah), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Environmentalists, Oregon senators oppose DOT increasing transport of natural gas by rail Senate Democrat says he is concerned intelligence community is 'bending' Soleimani presentations MORE (D-Ore.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Marsha Blackburn shares what book she's reading during Trump Senate trial Sekulow indicates Trump should not attend impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE (I-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTax season could bring more refund confusion Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden vows push to force release of Khashoggi assessment MORE (D-Ore.) voted against the mammoth bill. 

GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for week two of impeachment trial Trump defense team signals focus on Schiff Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president MORE (S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee MORE (Fla.), as well as Democratic Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMedia's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle Dem senators say Iran threat to embassies not mentioned in intelligence briefing Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (N.J.) missed the vote. 

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Senators will now need to go to conference with House lawmakers to reconcile differences between their two versions of the bill. They'll then have to pass a compromise deal by the end of the year and send it to President Trump's desk. 

Monday night's passage of the bill comes after lawmakers filed more than 400 amendments to the legislation. Only one, a failed effort by Paul to sunset the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations, got a vote. 

The hang up, according to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainConservative activist wins contest to represent New Hampshire at Republican National Convention Schiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial Martha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter MORE (R-Ariz.), stemmed around four proposals that lawmakers wanted a vote on, including a push by Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonDemocrats, Republicans tussle over witnesses as vote approaches GOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to Trump tweet, Senate trial witnesses MORE (R-Ark.) to "end sequestration" and a measure from Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats see Mulvaney as smoking gun witness at Trump trial Trump legal team offers brisk opening defense of president Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (D-Ill.) stripping limitations on medical research funded by the Pentagon 

Cotton knocked Democrats for not agreeing to lift the spending caps, saying they are "holding our troops hostage to politics solely because their leader wants them to." 

"Whenever a Democratic senator says they are worried about the state of our military, they are horrified about the kind of cuts we're making ... don't believe them. They don't mean it. They're not serious," he said. 

The stalemate on amendments forced Senate leadership to start wrapping up the bill late last week and run out the Senate's clock on debate time. 

Despite the slow walking, the legislation was still widely expected to easily pass before lawmakers leave Washington mid-week. Senators agreed to speed up a series of final procedural votes on Monday evening.

McCain and Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Veterans group seeks Trump apology for comments on brain injuries | Pentagon says dozens of troops suffered traumatic injuries after attack | Trump unveils Space Force logo Dozens of US troops suffered traumatic brain injuries after Iran missile strikes Six mayors making a difference MORE (D-R.I.), the top two members of the Armed Services Committee, also got a deal to tuck more than 150 noncontroversial amendments into the Senate bill.

And leadership offered their support for both the overall defense bill and McCain ahead of Monday's vote. 

"The members of that committee, from both parties, came together to support this year’s NDAA and send it to the Senate floor. It’s yet another testament to the leadership of Sen. McCain, the committee’s top Republican, and Sen. Reed, his Democratic counterpart," said Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Democrats step up pressure over witnesses after Bolton bombshell Bolton book alleges Trump tied Ukraine aid freeze to Biden investigations: NYT MORE (R-Ky.). 

Now that the Senate has cleared its legislation, they will need to work with the House to hammer out a deal, including coming to an agreement on defense spending. 

The Trump administration requested a $603 billion base defense budget and $65 billion for the war fund, known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account.

But the House's defense bill, contrasting with the Senate, includes only $632 billion in base spending, but $65 billion in war funding. 

The House's bill also backed creating a new military branch dedicated to space, called the Space Corps, while the Senate's version did not.