Standoff scraps quick deal on Senate defense bill before Thanksgiving

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense & National Security — Quick vote on defense bill blocked again Rubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE (D-R.I.) tried several times on Thursday night to reach a deal to set up votes on a package of 18 amendments on a defense bill.

But one after one, seven GOP senators stood up to block the deal unless their colleagues agreed to add their amendment into the package. Those GOP amendments included proposals related to the border wall, the Nord Stream pipeline and the repeal of vaccine requirements for Defense Department contractors.

"We just proposed votes on 18 amendments, three of which are bipartisan and eight of which are Republican-led amendments. We could start voting on them tonight. But, unfortunately, the other side won’t agree. Or some on the other side won’t agree," Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) said.

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Aides initially said earlier Friday that if they couldn't get a deal to vote on potential changes to the defense bill they expected senators would have to return to the Capitol on Friday to continue negotiations.

Democrats warned earlier this week that they could cut into the Thanksgiving recess in order to make progress on the bill.

But instead, senators, as they were leaving the Senate floor after the stalemate, said that they didn't expect the Senate to hold another roll-call vote until after the weeklong Thanksgiving break.

The Senate will come back into session at 10 a.m. on Friday. But Sens. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerMcConnell leaves GOP in dark on debt ceiling Advocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step The Memo: Rising costs a growing threat for Biden MORE (R-N.D.) and Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan MORE (D-Del.) both said as they were leaving the Capitol on Thursday night that the Senate is expected to just agree to start debate on the defense bill with a voice vote on Friday, meaning most senators won't need to return to the Capitol.

It's unclear what will happen to the potential amendment package for the defense bill that leadership was hoping to cut a deal on before leaving for the Thanksgiving recess.

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That amendment package included votes on priorities for both sides, including whether or not to add a repeal of the 2002 Iraq War authorization into the legislation. Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTo counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors Facebook unblocks Rittenhouse searches GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE (R-Mo.) was also poised to get a vote on his push to strip language out of the bill that requires women to sign up for the selective service.

But Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinFour questions that deserve answers at the Guantanamo oversight hearing Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Conservatives target Biden pick for New York district court MORE (D-Ill.), who as the majority whip is the No. 2 Senate Democrat, suggested that votes on potential amendments to the defense bill could be over.

The Senate voted on Wednesday to get the defense bill over an initial hurdle, but has not yet formally started debate on it and hasn't been able to vote on any amendments.

"Well, they just tossed out the package," Durbin said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers remember Bob Dole: 'Bona fide American hero' Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (R-Ky.) indicated earlier Thursday that Republicans had several priorities they wanted amendment votes on, including lethal support for Ukraine and proposals related to the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I’m glad we will finally be able to have these debates and these votes. America needs a course-correction and the Senate needs to supply it," he said.