Lawmakers made progress on several defense-related measures before leaving D.C. through Labor Day. Here’s what happened Thursday.
Defense Authorization: The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, 86-11. Armed Services leaders and staffers from both chambers will spend much of the August recess trying to work out differences with the House version. It includes controversial provisions that made for a more partisan final vote. “House Republicans should look to the bipartisan Senate to see how to get things done,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday on the Senate floor.
Defense Spending: The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its bipartisan version of the defense spending bill, calling for $832 billion in spending, as Defense News reported. Only one member – Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) – voted against it. The bill includes a 5.2% pay raise for service members, $50 million for the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, and funding for PFAS cleanup and the Readiness and Protection Integration program, according to a bill summary from the committee.
Military Construction/VA Spending: The full House passed the Military Construction/VA appropriations bill. The White House said it would veto the House version because of Republican amendments in the Veterans Affairs side of the bill, as On Base reported. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wants to pass all 12 annual spending bills through regular order, including conference bills with the Senate. But some in his Republican conference think the draft appropriations bills are too expensive, raising the chance of a government shutdown at the end of September.
FEMA photo of Schumer by K.C. Wilsey