Senate clears initial hurdle toward passing Defense policy bill around Hawley objection

The Senate on Thursday cleared the first procedural hurdle to passing the annual defense policy bill, despite opposition from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), with lawmakers expected to pass the bill in the coming weeks. We are now on track to make a final decision.

Senators voted 82-15 to move forward with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Motions are usually passed by voice vote, but Hawley forced a recorded roll call count after a bill to reauthorize the Compensation Program for Nuclear Contamination Victims was removed from the final bill.

“Congressional leadership has chosen to abandon the people of Missouri and a nation that has been poisoned by their own government,” Hawley said in a statement. Post to X. “I'm not going to make it easy on them.”

Hawley's decision to delay the path to finalizing the NDAA complicates the timing of final passage of the package, which lawmakers had hoped to wrap up by the end of next week.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (DR.I.) said he still expects a bill to be finalized as early as next week.

The House and Senate released a compromise version of the NDAA late Wednesday night. The $886 billion package would first pass the Senate, then the House of Representatives, where it could be considered before heading into the holiday season.

The bill does not include a Republican-backed item that would block the Pentagon's abortion policy, prompting Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) to put all military promotions on hold until early this week. Ta. The policy would allow service members to be reimbursed for travel expenses to receive abortion care.

Mr. Tuberville on Tuesday reversed the hold and granted promotions to more than 400 service members who had been in limbo for months.

The House is expected to suspend House rules to pass the NDAA, which requires support from two-thirds of members.

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