Lawmakers 'Burn Midnight Oil' Passing a Pentagon Budget

Senators vow to complete the 2013 Pentagon bill that's two months past due.

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Senators tasked with overseeing the Pentagon called on their colleagues to burn the midnight oil late Thursday, squaring up against the encroaching deadline to finally give the Defense Department a budget for this fiscal year.

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The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee called on their fellow lawmakers Wednesday to pass this year's National Defense Authorization Act by Friday and become a model for congressional accomplishment, according to a Politico report. Committee chairman Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the ranking member, have to wrestle through more than 100 amendments offered by their colleagues.

"We are planning on staying late tonight. Everyone can expect to be here tomorrow," said Levin while speaking on the floor of the Senate early Thursday afternoon. "We're going to have votes tomorrow unless we somehow or other finish this bill tonight."

The committee has been able to carve out a consensus on some contentious issues that caused gridlock in the past, including striking a provision that would limit the amount of money the Pentagon could spend on green energy initiatives.

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Levin said the Senate would next take on an amendment from Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley which calls for an accelerated withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

Other amendments include one sponsored by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, which would end the indiefinite military detention of American citizens within the U.S. and grant them a right to trial. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has threatened to filibuster the NDAA unless this amendment passes.

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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at