- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2020

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are racing against the clock to meet a Dec. 11 deadline to finalize the massive annual defense policy bill, but face several hurdles as they seek a compromise President Trump will sign before the current Congress loses its lease.

Mr. Trump’s veto threat over dueling bipartisan measures to include a provision to rename military bases that honor Confederate leaders stands in the way of the lawmakers’ goal.

If the massive, $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is not passed before the new Congress, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees would be forced to start over in January.

The chairman of the House panel, Adam Smith, Washington state Democrat, told Politico in a recent interview that if the bill is forced to the new Congress, “the bill disappears and we’d have to go back through the process.”

Under the current NDAA proposal, the Pentagon would have three years to rename the bases. The legislation has received bipartisan support, despite intense resistance from the president.

Top Republican lawmakers have also moved to stand by the president in his opposition to the language to rename the roughly 10 military bases.

Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Senate panel, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, are expected to reject a defense policy bill with the legislation.

“The president is not going to veto the defense bill and I can say that with almost absolute certainty,” Mr. Smith said earlier this month. “And the reason is because Mitch McConnell and Jim Inhofe are not going to send him a bill that he says he’s going to veto.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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