Formal negotiations will begin on 2018 defense policy bill, which calls for a major hike in defense spending, following a voice vote in the Senate on Tuesday.
Senators approved a motion by the House to convene a conference committee on the National Defense Authorization Act, and as expected, they named Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and all the other members of the Armed Services Committee to lead the negotiations.
The motion was made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and passed without debate.
Last week, the House picked 31 members of its Armed Services Committee including the chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and 42 members of other committees to be part of the NDAA conference.
Now, the members must hammer out a final NDAA bill by December with compromises on the size of the Army, the numbers of new aircraft and ships, and a controversial House proposal to create a new Space Corps military service within the Department of the Air Force.
Both McCain's $700 billion NDAA and Thornberry's $696 billion bill propose increases in defense spending well beyond the $639 billion requested by President Trump in the coming year, but their proposed bills disagree on the specific details, such as the total number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and Navy littoral combat ships should be bought.