Tuesday, May 29, 2007

National Security Legislative Wrap-up, May 21-25 2007

This past week Congress brought some big wins for the nonproliferation agenda, though they have been largely overshadowed by Congress' decision to fund the 2007 Supplemental Appropriations bill, a measure that funds the Iraq war through September 30 but has no timetable for exiting the war.

Congress is in recess this week for the Memorial Day holiday.


- Iraq Supplemental Appropriations Bill:

The Pentagon requested $93.4 billion in supplemental funding for combat operations for Fiscal Year 2007, which is in addition to $70 billion in Fiscal Year 2007 supplemental funding approved by Congress as part of its regular 2007 budget work.

On May 24, the House approved the latest version of the Supplemental bill without any deadlines for troop withdrawal by a vote of 280 - 142. Democrats split 86 for and 140 against. On the same day, the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 80 - 14.

- Defense Authorization Bill:

On May 24, the Senate Armed Services Committee completed its mark-up of the bill. In some highlights, the Committee:
* added $100 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program
* added $87 million for the Department of Energy non-proliferation programs
* cut $43 million from the Administration's request for $238 million for the Reliable Replacement Warhead, (note: the Senate is using a different number for this program than the House).
* while approving $10.1 billion for missile defense, the committee cut $85 million from the request of $310.4 million for the third missile defense site in Europe and cut $200 million from the airborne laser program.

The full Senate is scheduled to consider the bill in late June.

- Energy and Water Appropriations Bill:

On May 23, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee voted to:
* eliminate all $88.8 million of funding for a new generation of nuclear weapons (the Reliable Replacement Warhead program)
* cut out all $24.9 million for a new plant to build plutonium pits (consolidated plutonium program)
* added $878 million for nuclear non-proliferation programs to bring the total to $1.7 billion
* cut funds for the plutonium reprocessing program (the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) to extract nuclear weapons-usable material from nuclear waste from $405 million to $120 million.

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