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Defense bill debate loaded with hot-button issues

by AirTalk

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), hopes the Senate will finish work on the National Defense Authorization Act before the Thanksgiving holiday. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes the Senate will finish work on the National Defense Authorization Act—a sweeping annual bill that sets Pentagon policy—before the Thanksgiving holiday.

But it may not be that easy. Floor debate for the yearly bill typically involves hundreds of proposed amendments and dozens of votes. This time around, Senators are likely to offer amendments dealing with a host of controversial issues—including how to deal with military sexual assault and whether to introduce further sanctions on Iran.

The multi-day spending bill debate is also expected to serve as a forum for lawmakers to debate the National Security Agency’s spying programs and related privacy concerns.

There’s also likely to be debate about what to do with Guantanamo Bay detainees, as Senators again weigh President Obama’s request for the ability to transfer terror suspects from the complex.

What issues do you think should get the most attention as Senators debate this year’s defense bill?

Guest:

Philip Ewing, Defense Editor for POLITICO

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