Senate Republicans demand Schumer bring defense authorization bill to floor
Two dozen Republicans are pressing Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to bring the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to the floor for a vote before the September work period closes.
“At the founding of our nation, then-General George Washington penned, ‘When the civil and military powers cooperate, and afford mutual aid to each other there can be little doubt of things going well.’ Two centuries later, that still rings true.” the lawmakers, led by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), wrote in a letter to Schumer.
“Yet should this body fail in its top Constitutional responsibility of providing for a common defense, our armed services will be left directionless, lack stable funding, and be devoid of civilian Congressional oversight,” they continued.
Schumer’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
The Senate Armed Services Committee advanced its version of the annual defense policy bill in June by a bipartisan 23-3 vote, and the legislation now awaits consideration from the full upper chamber.
The House passed its version of the bill on July 14 on a bipartisan 329-101 vote. Once the Senate passes its version, differences between the bills are negotiated in conference committee.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at the 2022 Defense News Conference that he’s been working with Schumer to try to bring the bill to the floor before the Senate recesses for midterm elections.
However, he acknowledged that there were other things the upper chamber has to work on that take priority.
“We have to have a continuing resolution to keep the government operating, and there are other issues that are coming before us that we have to take up. But we’re pushing very, very hard to get on the floor in September,” Reed said.
The Senate’s version of the bill calls for a $857 billion national defense top line, of which $846 billion would be authorized for programs in the Department of Defense and Department of Energy.
In their letter, the Republicans touted the bill for providing service members with a 4.6 percent pay raise and for strengthening the U.S.’s forces in cybersecurity, space and the Indo-Pacific as well as personnel management.