WASHINGTON (AP) -- The top Democrats and Republicans on Congress' military panels are working on a backup plan to ensure that they complete a far-reaching defense policy bill before year's end.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, expressed optimism Thursday that they could agree with their Senate counterparts on a pared-back bill. It would cover a pay raise for troops, buy new ships and aircraft and address the epidemic of sexual assault in the military.
The Senate and the House have only one legislative week to work out their differences before the House adjourns on Dec. 13.
Under the fallback plan, the House would quickly pass a new, precooked bill and send it to the Senate.