GOP Senator: ‘How Many People Really Want to Vote Against … the Troops?’

Republicans have had it with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Will those frustrations lead them to kill the annual Pentagon policy bill? (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Republicans have had it with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Will those frustrations lead them to kill the annual Pentagon policy bill? (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Senate Republicans were mad when they left for a Thanksgiving recess. They were angry when they got back last Monday. And they were furious late last week after the chamber’s Democratic leaders pushed through a list of judicial and executive nominations. The bad blood is so thick it practically forms a moat around the Senate chamber. And it’s threatening to break a 51-year streak of Congress passing a national defense authorization act (NDAA). But one senior Republican senator who is close to his party’s leadership tells Defense News his hunch is many of his GOP mates ultimately will side with the Pentagon, defense sector and service members. GOP senators are threatening to block a final vote on the 2014 NDAA as a protest against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s handling of Republican amendments. Defense hawks from both parties are pushing hard against such a move, saying the procedural game of chicken undermines national security. The senior Republican hinted he and others ultimately will have a hard time killing the Pentagon policy bill:

“The dilemma with NDAA is, even though it’s being handled the way it is [by Reid], how many people really want to vote against a bill to fund the troops? There’s pressure there that don’t exist on other bills.”

The senior GOP senator, speaking anonymously to be candid, then explained why many of his colleagues are thinking of doing that just. When told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., contends the House-passed compromise NDAA contains dozens of amendments cleared by both parties when the upper chamber tried in late November to pass a different version of the bill, here’s what the senior Republican said:

“They didn’t include mine. And I’d really like a vote.”

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett
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