By Martin Matishak
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on Tuesday said that Senate leaders still have yet to schedule time to take up next year’s defense authorization bill.
“I have no way of knowing when the leader’s going to find a place for it,” Levin told reporters, referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). He added that he’s spoken to Reid regularly about the policy bill and “he knows of the importance of it.”
Levin and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the panel’s ranking member, unveiled their $514 billion take on the Pentagon budget blueprint on May 22. The bill was reported out of committee by a 25-1 vote.
Two weeks ago, Levin and Inhofe called on their colleagues to offer amendments to the authorization bill. Levin warned against a repeat of the 2013 process where lawmakers scrambled at the end of the session to mark up the bill, leaving senators unable to vote on any amendments.
“We have an awful lot of work ahead of us. We don’t have a long time to do it,” he said during a Senate floor speech.
Levin would not rule out that the chamber taking up the policy bill some time in July.
Meanwhile, the House has already passed its version of the policy measure, along with a $491 billion Defense Department spending bill.
Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman Dick (Durbin (D-Ill.) has said he expects the panel will take up its draft of the spending bill in early July.