By JOHN T. BENNETT
WASHINGTON — US Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid signaled Thursday that the chamber will take up its version of a 2015 Pentagon policy bill in September.
The Nevada Democrat kicked off perhaps the final day of legislative work before a five-week recess with a floor speech laying out the chamber’s priorities for September, noting there is “a lot to do” before Congress leaves again for all of October to campaign for the midterm elections.
He called completing a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) during September “extremely important.”
Reid pleaded with his colleagues to be prepared to work Fridays and weekends throughout September in order to complete the defense policy bill and other measures.
“We have not had a productive Congress,” he said bluntly, adding that September can be different if members of both parties set aside years-long bitterness and squabbling.
The Democratic leader said he met Wednesday with his committee chairs, who advocated working Fridays and weekends in September.
“This is not me trying to dictate a schedule,” Reid said.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman and Ranking Member Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Ranking Member Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., took to the floor on Wednesday to urge colleagues to file NDAA amendments now — not the morning of votes on the bill, which derailed last year’s Senate version of the bill.
“No one should complain later on about not having their amendments heard if they’re not sending them down right now,” Inhofe said. “There is no reason to put it off. We don’t want to go through what we had to last time.”