Monday, September 10, 2007

National Security Legislative Wrap-up, September 3-7 2007

Congress was principally focused on Iraq this past week, although there was some significant action on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation issues on the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, as I noted earlier.

Iraq will continue to dominate Capitol Hill in the foreseeable future, however, considering that Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to deliver their highly-anticipated report to Congress this week. New votes on amendments to end the war are not expected until mid-September or October. Some Democrats are talking about a compromise with Republicans to reach the 60-vote majority needed to pass legislation in the Senate.

Click here for a schedule of Congressional action on key Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DoE) bills.


The Senate is tentatively scheduled to resume consideration of the bill on September 17, but that schedule could easily be pushed back. The bill could be a vehicle for additional votes on the Iraq war -- although such measures could be considered in stand-alone votes.

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to consider its version of the bill the week of September 10.

The portion of the request to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- which now reportedly will reach up to $200 billion -- may not be considered by the House until late October or November. Congress is waiting for additional Administration war requests. As a result, Congress may adopt the Defense Appropriations Bill without war funds as a separate measure rather than adopting a combined bill as previously planned.

On September 6, the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 81 - 12. Before doing so, it adopted by voice vote the Obama (D-IL) - Hagel (R-NE) amendment requiring the President to submit a comprehensive nuclear threat reduction and security plan, approved $500,000 to support talks with North Korea and adopted a Lieberman (I-CT) amendment appropriating $75 million to support democracy, the rule of law, and governance in Iran. By a vote of 30 - 63, the Senate rejected an Ensign (R-NV) to eliminate a provision in the bill that increases the limit on the United States' share for United Nations peacekeeping operations during fiscal year 2008 from 25% to 27.1%.

No comments: