Stakes High if Congress Can’t Pass NDAA

Juana Summers, Politico

House and Senate aides say they’re closer to reaching an accord, and remain optimistic that the bill — which represents about half of the discretionary budget — will pass. The two chambers may attempt to each pass similar legislation and send it back and forth across the Capitol, which insiders liken to a game of table tennis.

“Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services staff are trying to work out differences in the two bills, presumably with the goal of ‘ping-ponging’ something before the end of the year,” said a Senate Democratic aide close to the process. “Technically, it’s not a conference report. It will just be a new bill that omits anything controversial and is intended to easily pass both chambers quickly.”

That option, said Jeff Green, a former House Armed Services subcommittee staff director, is better than no bill at all.

“It’s clearly the least preferred option, but it’s a must-do if the alternative is no legislation at all. No single issue that’s before the Congress this year is worth bringing down this 51 year mechanism for taking care of the troops,” he said.

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