Monday, July 16, 2007

National Security Legislative Wrap-up, July 9-13 2007

The Senate began consideration of the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill last week and continues the debate through this week. The bill provides a vehicle for a number of votes on the Iraq war and other national security issues. The key vote this week will be on a Levin (D-MI) - Reed (D-RI) amendment requiring most American troops to leave Iraq by April 30, 2008. The House approved a similar measure last week. In addition, the House Defense Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill, but details are not yet available.



The full Senate began debating the bill the week of July 9, and will continue the week of July 16. In an important vote last week, the Senate voted 56 - 41 for the Webb (D-VA) & Hagel (R-NE) amendment that would have mandated minimum periods for soldiers between deployments to Iraq, but the measure failed because 60 votes were needed for passage. A similar Hagel (R-NE) amendment No. 2032 barring Army soldiers from serving for more than 12 consecutive months in Iraq and Marines from serving for more than seven months garnered a 52 – 45 majority, but was turned back as 60 votes were required for adoption.


On July 12, the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved its Fiscal Year 2008 bill. While no details are yet available, the funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be considered in a separate bill. Nonetheless, the bill is expected to be a vehicle for more House votes on national security issues. In full committee now scheduled for June 23, amendments are likely to mandate withdrawing troops from Iraq, closing the Guanatanmo Bay detention center and barring permanent bases in Iraq.

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