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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 CorkerCorker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing GOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Poll: GOP's Blackburn holds slim lead in Tennessee Senate race MORE (R-Tenn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (D-N.Y.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (D-Vt.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line MORE (R-Utah), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Poll: Dem incumbent holds 5-point lead in Oregon governor's race Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees MORE (D-Ore.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE (R-Ky.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBiden: Trump administration 'coddles autocrats and dictators' Warren and Sanders question Amazon CEO over Whole Foods anti-union video Dem lawmaker to Saudis: Take your oil and shove it MORE (I-Vt.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRepublicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel US to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK Poll: Dem incumbent holds 5-point lead in Oregon governor's race MORE (D-Ore.) voted against the mammoth bill. 

GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Five things to know about 'MBS,' Saudi Arabia's crown prince MORE (S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference MORE (Fla.), as well as Democratic Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezTrump lowers refugee goal to 30,000, he must meet it Blame Senate, not FBI, for Kavanaugh travesty Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints 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 McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate MORE (R-Ariz.), stemmed around four proposals that lawmakers wanted a vote on, including a push by Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter Susan Collins becomes top 2020 target for Dems MORE (R-Ark.) to "end sequestration" and a measure from Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight GOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia 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: Trump asks Turkey for evidence on missing journalist | Key Dem calls for international probe | Five things to know about 'MBS' | Air Force struggles to determine cost of hurricane damage to F-22 jets Trump administration doesn't have ambassadors in Saudi Arabia or Turkey Top Armed Services Dem calls for international probe into missing Saudi journalist 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 McConnellGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials ratchet up fight over drug pricing | McConnell says Republicans could try again on ObamaCare repeal | Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel 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.