The House and Senate return to Washington this week with a hefty list of to-do items. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a Sunday letter to senators that they should be “prepared to stay in Washington until we finish our work.”
Here are some of the big issues we’re watching:
National Defense Authorization Act. Leaders on the Armed Services committees have said negotiations are almost complete on the NDAA and that a final compromise bill should pass both chambers by the end of the year. House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said earlier this month that the House could vote on the compromise by “early December,” as On Base reported.
National Security Supplemental. “The next few weeks are make or break for President Joe Biden’s push for tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific allies,” Punchbowl News reported today, noting that the Senate will take the lead on the aid package, with floor action as soon as next week. A challenge will be whether and how to pair the aid with U.S. border security funding.
Appropriations. Congress gave itself until January and February to complete full-year appropriations bills for the current fiscal year, so it seems unlikely a defense spending bill will get done before the end of December, which could trigger automatic cuts to the DOD budget, as On Base reported.
Tuberville’s Blockade. “In the coming weeks we must also confront the brazen and reckless blockade of military promotions,” Schumer wrote in his letter to colleagues. He said he will bring forward a Rules Committee resolution “in the coming weeks” that would temporarily change Senate rules to allow consideration of more than 350 military nominations being held up by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) in protest of a DOD abortion access policy.
DOD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany A. Chase