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Even John McCain, R-Ariz., who was among the 18 senators to vote in favor of closing the markup, acknowledges that his vote was not an endorsement of Levinís concerns
ďI donít think itís necessary, but I also have the greatest respect for Sen. Levin,Ē McCain said. ďWeíve worked together for many years, and thatís his desire. I understand the frustration that provides people like you, and Iím sorry.Ē
He also hinted that he expects the committee to more seriously revisit the issue during next yearís NDAA markup, after Levinís retirement. McCain has expressed interest in chairing the Armed Services Committee if Republicans can capture the Senate in November.
The only time the full committee has opened its NDAA markup to the public under Levin was in 2013, when it held two hours of public discussion on the billís sexual assault provisions. But the practice predates the current chairman, who took over the role in 2007. Between 1997 and 2010, all Senate committee and subcommittee NDAA markups were held in closed session. Since then, the committee has opened up some subcommittee meetings on the authorization bill, including three of this yearís six subcommittee markups.