The Senate has made steady progress this week on its version of the National Defense Authorization Act with hopes of finishing it Thursday or Friday before leaving for the August recess. House and Senate lawmakers and staff would then spend August negotiating a compromise bill.

It won’t be easy to marry what’s shaping up to be a moderate, centrist Senate NDAA with the House version, which has several right-wing provisions targeting diversity, abortion access, LGBTQ rights and other controversial issues. Those provisions led most House Democrats to vote against the NDAA.

The conference legislation has passed in a bipartisan fashion for more than 60 years. Most lawmakers know how bad it would look if Congress were unable to pass a bill that authorizes national defense policies and supports military families and defense communities.

Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Matt Damon