In a Sunday letter to colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the chamber is “likely” to vote on the long-delayed annual defense bill this week.
Schumer said the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a bipartisan package meant to make the U.S. economy more competitive against China and bolster U.S. supply chains, may be added to the National Defense Authorization Act.
“I have had a number of conversations with Senators on both sides of the aisle and there seems to be fairly broad support for doing so, which would enable a USICA negotiation with the House to be completed alongside NDAA before the end of the year,” Schumer said in the letter.
Schumer will also look to add a vote to repeal the 2002 Iraq War Authorization to the NDAA.
“In addition, we will seek to have an amendment vote to the NDAA on bipartisan legislation repealing the 2002 Iraq AUMF that was reported by the Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year,” Schumer said. “I made a commitment to having a vote on this proposal in 2021 and the NDAA is a logical place to have that vote.”
Schumer said he was raising the defense bill Monday amid further delays for the Democrats’ ambitious Build Back Better legislation, a $1.75 trillion social spending and climate bill that must first pass the House.
The House finalized its draft of the measure in September, but a version passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee has been awaiting a full chamber vote since July. Now it will likely face final passage on a calendar crowded with the major Democratic legislation, action to raise the country’s debt limit, and a likely continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
Schumer said he’s hopeful Congress would reach an agreement on a 2022 federal spending package, but Republicans and Democrats are still at odds, meaning Congress will very likely have to pass a CR before the current stopgap legislation expires Dec. 3.