The future of Congress' annual defense policy bill, as well as U.S. aid to Ukraine, is murky as House Republicans scramble to choose a new leader after lawmakers voted to remove the speaker for the first time in U.S. history.
The drama over the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on Tuesday ground the chamber to a halt at a time when the House and Senate still need to hash out the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, the sweeping bill that sets everything from the annual troop pay raise to standards for troop living conditions.
“This is a time of uncertainty, so anyone who is certain should be questioned,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and one of the key architects of the annual bill, said Wednesday.
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The deadline for passing the bill into law is generally considered the end of the calendar year since that's when authorities for special pay and bonuses expire.
Reed told reporters that negotiations between Congress' two chambers will “keep moving” despite the House disarray. He said his counterparts in the House — Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and ranking member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Calif. — are “extremely responsible and professional” negotiating partners.
Still, Reed would not rule out the possibility of the House chaos bleeding over into NDAA…