By Martin Matishak
House and Senate lawmakers have reached a compromise on a joint fiscal year 2015 defense policy bill and hope to unveil the measure Monday night or early Tuesday morning, according to one of the chief negotiators.
“We’ll have a statement on it. If it’s not out already, we’ll have a statement tomorrow morning,” Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told reporters late Monday.
He said he and his House counterpart, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), had resolved “all” of their issues.
Talks had been stalled over Defense Department budget proposals that raise out-of-pocket costs for military families on housing and Tricare, their healthcare plan.
The House threw out those ideas in the legislation it approved earlier this year, but the Senate version, which never reached the chamber floor, includes them.
Levin declined to say how those issues had been resolved.
“We compromised,” he said. “It takes two, not just to tango, but to compromise.”
He did say the Senate conceded by agreeing the final bill would not include a provision that would have allowed the Defense secretary to moves detainees from the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.
Levin did not say when the joint measure would receive a vote.
“We still have to present it to our bodies,” he told reporters. “Obviously, that’s not a minor issue.”
Lawmakers are hoping to conclude their lame-duck session next week, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday suggested it could drag on for another week.