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Republican lawmakers prepare to defend defense bill in Democratic House

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WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The Senate passed its version of the annual defense bill on Thursday.

Senators packed a lot into the $741 billion bill. but the author, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, says he’s preparing for a fight when the bill goes to conference with the House’s version, which passed on Tuesday.

“It’s not over yet,” Inhofe said.

He says lawmakers must now work out the disagreements between the Senate’s bill and a somewhat different House version that passed earlier this week.

“There is an effort right now by the Speaker of the House to put as much of their agenda on the defense authorization bill as possible,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe says House Democrats packed a lot into their bill too, but he says he plans to weed out any the provisions that would divert national security funds to programs that have nothing to do with national security.

Representative Will Hurd says he’s confident lawmakers will reach an agreement.

“There are nuances that I think we are going to be able to get worked out in a conference committee and get something to the President’s desk,” the Texas Republican said.

But that’s only half the battle.

President Donald Trump already threatened to veto the bill if it includes a House provision that requires the Pentagon to rename military bases currently named after Confederate leaders.

Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters says supporting our troops should be a non-partisan issue.

“One major feature that I am very proud of in this bill is a 3% pay raise for our service members,” Peters said.

The bill also includes resources to combat COVID-19, funding for the Pentagon to enhance its cyber security and replace outdated military equipment.

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