- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Senate Republicans are hoping to rush action on the annual defense policy bill, saying that with Sen. John McCain ailing from a brain cancer diagnosis earlier this month, they want to take action while he’s still in Washington.

As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. McCain is integral to the defense debate.

He returned to Washington this week to vote on the GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort, and said he was also eager to see action on Russia sanctions legislation and the defense bill, known officially as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Democrats have balked at the way the Obamacare repeal debate is playing out, saying they still don’t know what the final proposal is that the GOP will offer for repealing part of the 2010 law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though, said the Senate will finish the health care debate and then hopefully Democrats will speed their way to the defense bill.

“We’re going to try to turn to NDAA and accommodate the chairman’s schedule,” he said.

Invoking Mr. McCain’s health as a reason to move quickly could shame Democrats into dropping potential procedural hurdles — though Democrats have shown little appetite for cooperation so far this year.

Already, Mr. McConnell has said he was canceling two weeks of the Senate’s planned summer vacation, which was supposed to start Monday. Republicans said they’ll use the additional time to try to get more of President Trump’s nominees confirmed, as well as to clear backlogged legislative business.

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