Monday, March 17, 2008

National Security Legislative Wrap-up

Both the Senate and the House are in recess for the next two weeks. Before they adjourned, both chambers approved the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution. There were no challenges in the Senate to the military budget requested by the Bush Administration: $542 billion for defense budget authority (function 050 in the budget) plus $70 billion as a down payment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the House, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) offered a Progressive Caucus alternative budget that would have cut the defense budget authority to $468 billion, $69 billion less than requested. The amendment failed 98 - 322.

However, when considering the "soft power" portion of the federal budget (including the State Department budget, peacekeeping, international organizations and foreign assistance), the Senate voted 73 - 23 for a Biden (D-DE) - Lugar (R-IN) amendment to restore $4.1 billion to the international affairs budget that the Senate Budget Committee had cut. As the Senate has now approved the Administration request of $39.8 billion and the House approved $1.5 billion less, the final number will have to be worked out in a House-Senate conference.

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