Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Senate Passes Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate passed the Defense Authorization bill 92-3 last night with a number of important amendments. The Senate now turns to the Defense Appropriations bill.

Highlighted below are the major amendments related to nuclear weapons and nonproliferation issues that were considered.

Lieberman (I-CT), McCain, Kyl, Graham, Coleman, Collins, Sessions, Levin, Salazar and Craig modified amendment No. 2073 accusing Iran of assisting forces in Iraq that are contributing to the destabilization of Iraq and the murders of Americans, demanding that Iran cease those activities and requiring the Administration to report to Congress concerning Iran's activities there and responses to those activities was adopted 97 – 0 (July 11). The amendment closed with the sentence: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of Armed Forces against Iran.”

Protection against Iranian ballistic missiles
Sessions (R-AL) modified amendment No. 2024 stating that it should be the policy of the United States to develop and deploy, as soon as technologically possible, an effective defense against “the threat from Iran” was adopted 90 – 5 (July 12).

Chemical weapons destruction
Sens. McConnell (R-KY), Salazar, Allard and Bunning filed amendment No. 2062 to increase funding for chemical weapons demilitarization at Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky, and Pueblo Chemical Activity, Colorado, by $49.3 million was adopted by voice vote (September 18).

Nuclear terrorism
Sens. Clinton (D-NY) & Whitehouse (D-RI) amendment No. 2222, a version of her bill S. 1705, the Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Act, terrorism was adopted by voice vote (September 18). The measure would establish the position of “Senior Advisor to the President for the Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism” and urges the President to make the prevention of a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States of the highest priority and to accelerate programs, requesting additional funding as appropriate, to prevent nuclear terrorism.

Cost of replacing nuclear warheads
Sen. Bingaman (D-NM) amendment No. 2210 which would add to the nuclear posture review included in the Defense Authorization bill requirements that any plan for replacing or modifying the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile include an assessment of the estimated cost and anticipated schedule for replacing warheads was adopted by voice vote (September 18). The amendment also requires reports in 2009, 2011 and 2013 instead of just 2007.

Kyl (R-AZ), Lieberman (I-CT), Coleman (R-MN) and Graham (R-SC) sense of the Senate amendment No. 3017 on Iran was approved 76 – 22 (September 26). The amendment was revised to take out approval of the use of force. After the use of force was deleted from the amendment, the provision urges the Iranian Revolutionary Corps be designated as a terrorist organization.

Retirement of B-52 bombers
Conrad (D-ND), Dorgan, Landrieu and Vitter amendments No. 2172 to require maintaining 63 B-52 bombers with 11 in reserve was adopted by voice vote (September 26).

Minuteman III missiles
Modified version of Hatch (R-UT) and Bennett (R-UT) amendment No. 3016 to require a study on the industrial base for solid rocket motors was adopted by voice vote (Sept. 26) (rather than a study of the Minuteman III missile).

Minuteman missiles
Baucus (D-MT) – Tester (D-MT) amendment No. 2325 barring the retirement of more than 40 Minuteman missiles from the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana until a report from the Secretary of Defense was approved by voice vote (Oct. 1).

No comments: