Passage of Senate NDAA Delayed Until Next Week
Debate on the Senate version of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-HR2810) started with a plea from Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman, John McCain (Ariz.), to repeal sequestration. The Chairman warned that without repeal or substantial modification, the pending NDAA will be cut by more than $54 billion. An amendment to the bill to repeal sequestration was filed and is waiting for a floor vote. The Senate had hoped to complete work on floor amendments and pass the bill this week, but will continue with consideration of amendments followed by a final vote next week. The bill (H.R.2810) is expected to pass the Senate on Monday.
There were more than 1100 amendments filed on the bill. As of Friday, September 15, only 103 were adopted. Amendments of interest to FRA include:
• Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Jack Reed (R.I.), SASC Chairman and Ranking Member respectively, filed an amendment (#498) that authorizes the Pentagon to implement a new round of Base Relocation and Closures (BRAC). It has not been voted on yet.
• Senator Rand Paul (Ky.) filed an amendment (#871) that provides a six-month sunset for the Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Afghanistan that was enacted in 2001 and in Iraq that was enacted in 2002. The AUMF measure was tabled (61 to 37).
• Senator Mike Rounds (S.D.) filed an amendment (#282) to repeal pharmacy co-pay increases for retirees younger than 65. It has not been voted on yet.
• Senator John Kennedy (La.) filed an amendment (#718) that, among its other changes, reduces the annual subsidy to commissaries. FRA signed onto an opposition letter, along with other like-minded associations, that went to the Senate. It has not been voted on yet.
• Senator Dean Heller (Nev.) filed an FRA-supported amendment (#639) to provide comprehensive concurrent receipt reform. It has not been voted on yet.
• Senator Tom Cotton (Ariz.) filed an amendment (#1007) to repeal sequestration. It has not been voted on yet.
The House passed its bill on July 14 (344 to 81). After the Senate passes its bill, the House and Senate will appoint a conference committee to resolve the differences between the two bills. The final bill will be submitted to both chambers and if approved will be sent to President Trump to be signed into law or be vetoed. Members are encouraged to use the FRA Action Center to weigh in on this issue.