The United States Capitol building

On Tuesday morning, Senate Armed Services Committee (“SASC”) Chairman Jack Reed (R-RI) opened debate for the Senate’s version of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”). The senate agreed to, via unanimous consent, the motion to proceed to Cal. #467 H.R. 7900, FY23 NDAA.

The modified substitute amendment includes a manager’s package (MP) of seventy-five individual amendments, selected out of over 900 Senate amendments submitted. The MP would, among other things, reauthorize critical programs such as the Water Resources Development Act (“WRDA”) and State Department authorization. The latter is especially interesting inasmuch as it reflects an interest by the Senate to subject that agency to meaningful oversight vis-à-vis geopolitical volatility in Russia and China.  Notably, twelve out of the seventy-five amendments that comprise the MP relate to China or U.S.-China policy; they include selected provisions from the version of the Taiwan Policy Act that the Foreign Relations Committee recently passed.

The Senate adjourned Tuesday and will not hold any NDAA votes until the Senate returns to Washington, DC, on November 14th.

Now that Chairman Reed has added this MP to the Committee-passed bill, committee staff will now go back to “pre-conferencing” the bill with the objective of generating an 80-90% solution by the midterms and resolve the balance of any disagreements with the House at the “Big Four” level—among the chairs and ranking members of the SASC and the House Armed Services Committee —in November. Then, the SASC will initiate an informal conference to “ping pong” the bill with the House, as occurred last year, to pass a joint explanatory statement in late November/early December through both chambers.