Schumer tees up defense bill for ‘likely’ vote this week

By Tony Bertuca / November 15, 2021 at 9:05 AM

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is preparing to bring the annual defense authorization bill to the floor this week for a vote, according to a letter he sent to Senate Democrats.

Schumer said “it is likely” the Senate considers the $778 billion defense authorization bill this week. Republicans have been especially critical of Schumer for not moving the bill more quickly through the Senate, though Democrats have made their displeasure clear as well, particularly House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA).

The defense bill, Schumer said, will likely contain a separate bill aimed at increasing U.S. competitiveness with China and securing critical supply chains. Schumer also said Democrats will seek to have an amendment to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq.

Senators have already proposed hundreds of amendments, though the vast majority are unlikely to receive votes.

The Senate, he said, will need to pass another stopgap continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Dec. 3.

He added that the Senate will move President Biden’s massive “Build Back Better” bill to address tax, social safety net and climate issues, though negotiations continue.

Additionally, he told his colleagues to be ready to cast votes for presidential nominees, sometimes at “inconvenient times.”

“Keep your schedule flexible for the remainder of the calendar year,” he said. “I am confident we can get each of these important items done this year.”