During a press availability following the Democratic caucus this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) praised Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) openness in considering a fair and reasonable amendment process for bringing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to a vote, but stopped short of saying that he would hold the bill until he had secured 60 votes to proceed to the matter.
In the clip below, Reid outlines the agreement he has offered to Collins:
REID: I have worked a lot with Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins. Senator Collins has been most helpful in trying to figure a way to get this done. There was so me stuff in the paper today….
So I’m considering making it so it would be possible to offer 15 amendments. We would have an hour time agreement on those. Democrats would get 10, Republicans would get 5. We would also, if the Republicans felt they needed extra time on a couple of amendments they could choose those and that would give them an extra 4 hours. That is, they would have 4 hours on those two amendments, rather than 2 hours.
While it’s still unclear if Collins will take the deal, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent is reporting that if she does, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AR) is ready to join her, giving Reid the necessary 60 votes for cloture. (This is assuming that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — who has previously said he is undecided — is willing to vote with his party).
Murkowski’s “vote will depend on how free and open the amendment process is, but she has reached the decision that don’t ask don’t tell ought to be repealed, provided that proper preparations are implemented,” her spokesman Michael Brumas told Sargent.
Throughout the negotiations, Collins has been asking for a completely open process that would allow Republicans to offer an unlimited number of amendments.
The big area of disagreement seems to be the hour of debate on the 15 amendments. Collins wants more time, I’m told.