Sen. Rubio Deters Quick Votes On Defense Policy Bill

On Wednesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blocked a quick deal to vote on amendments for a broad defense policy bill. This is the latest setback in hopes of passing the legislation.

The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Jack Reed (D-R.I.) attempted to get permission to vote on 24 amendments for the National Defense Authorization (NDAA). This is what sets Pentagon spending policy and toplines.

The Senate would then have been able to vote on the defense bill, as part of an agreement reached by the leadership, after the amendment votes.

However, Rubio made it impossible to include his amendment in the Senate package. This would have allowed Rubio to block the amendment deal. Rubio’s proposed deal would prohibit imports from Xinjiang, a region in China where the communist regime are said to be carrying out genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

Rubio’s revision was incorporated in the list sent to Senate offices Wednesday of amendments that would be voted on as part of the agreement.

Rubio was faced with a procedural problem due to the way the amendment deal was constructed. This meant that even if senators voted in favor of his amendment, it would have been removed before the final vote on the defense legislation.

Reed asked for consent to allow the setting up of the amendment votes. Rubio’s suggestion was not among those that were being considered.

Democrats said that Rubio’s amendment to the defense bill would kill it because it was against Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1 of the Constitution, which states that revenue-raising bills must come from the House.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed Rubio’s objection to setting up the amendment votes, stating that the move is “sad, tragic and almost absurd.” 

“If his amendment were on the bill it would automatically kill the bill,” Schumer added.

In response, Rubio accused the House of using the procedural block because they didn’t support Rubio’s proposal. Eventually, it was passed in the Senate, but remains stuck in the House.

“They can basically use it on virtually anything. They can just apply it to anything they don’t like,” Rubio said. 

“This is really not about revenue generating. This is about the fact that they don’t want this to pass over in the House,” Rubio added.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford also tried to get a vote for his amendment to a memo by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, which required that all National Guard and Reserve personnel be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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