The House, by unanimous consent, voted today to enter into conference with the Senate to consider the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill.
The chamber also voted 414-8 to allow the conference committee to meet in closed session.
The Senate has yet to vote to proceed to conference, and neither chamber has named conferees.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said Oct. 5 he hopes lawmakers can finish the bill before the end of the month.
At the time, Thornberry said he and his Senate counterpart John McCain (R-AZ), who will run the conference committee, have yet to decide whether they will adhere to the $700 billion defense topline authorized in their respective bills or wait for a spending deal to be hashed out by Republican and Democratic leadership.
The White House has requested $603 billion for defense in FY-18, but the 2011 Budget Control Act limits defense spending to $549 billion.
The partisan debate over spending is likely to be contentious as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said earlier today Democrats will insist on "parity" in increases in defense and non-defense spending.