Thursday, September 18, 2008

Senate Consideration of the FY08 Defense Authorization Bill

The Defense Authorization Bill is dead. Long live the Defense Authorization Bill.

In a scene of considerable weirdness, the Senate yesterday approved the $612.5 Defense Authorization Bill by a vote of 88 – 8. It did so only after leaving behind a “managers’ package” of about 100 amendments that was all wrapped up with a big bow on it.

Because the package required unanimous consent to be added to the bill, and some Republicans objected to about $5 billion in earmarks in the report accompanying bill, the Senate approved the measure basically as reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

After more than a week of work, the Senate considered four amendments on September 10 and zero amendments after that.

Thus there is no amendment endorsing the Iraq War surge.

There is no amendment placing more sanctions on Iran.

There is no amendment on the third missile defense site in Poland and the Czech Republic.

There is no amendment on a congressional role on any long-term agreement signed by the U.S. and Iraq.

Republicans also objected to a conference committee with the House of Representatives to reconcile the two bills, but there are procedural ways that the conference agreement can be concluded and approved by the end of next week when Congress is scheduled to leave town.

Stay tuned.

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