After returning from the Thanksgiving break yesterday, the Senate’s progress on consideration of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) stalled last night with Senate Republicans refusing to vote for cloture due to disagreements on the amendment process for the defense spending act.

The cloture vote failed on a 45-51 vote, and both Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pointed today towards disagreements on the appropriate number of amendments to debate on the Senate floor as the reason for the stall.

While both Schumer and McConnell pointed fingers at each other’s parties for the stall, both expressed willingness and optimism today that the parties will continue work on the NDAA in the typical bipartisan fashion that the “must-pass” defense legislation usually enjoys. Each noted in their press conferences that the bill made it through the Senate Armed Services Committee with a widely bipartisan 22-3 vote.

There are a variety of consequential tech amendments filed for the bill, including potentially reforming the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA), a few different attempts to tackle mandatory cybersecurity incident reporting, and other amendments establishing a five-year term for the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), among others.

The need to pass the NDAA is just one of a variety of high-profile legislation and hurdles that the Senate needs to clear this month. On another – the nation’s debt-limit – Sen. Schumer expressed confidence, and Sen. McConnell stated that the nation will not default.

For his part, while acknowledging the tightly packed schedule, Sen. Schumer said, “We know that December’s upon us, we know we have a lot of work to do, and we will get the job done.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.