The House today voted by unanimous consent to form a conference committee with the Senate to negotiate the competing versions of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The House also rejected, 184 to 237, a Democratic motion to instruct conferees to oppose provisions in the House version of the defense policy bill H.R. 2810 (115) that would remove limits on transfers of surplus Army pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program for purchase.

Democrats called the program antiquated and said the provision would put more guns on the street, while Republicans countered most weapons sold through the program are collector’s items.

Motions to instruct are not binding on conferees.

The House also voted, 414 to 8, to close portions of the conference talks that involve classified information.

House conferees could be named as early as today.

The Senate hasn’t yet voted to go to conference. Still, the chairmen and ranking Democrats on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have met and are aiming to finish most or all of an NDAA conference report by the end of October.