Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update on the FY08 Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate voted yesterday for cloture to end debate on the bill. The vote was 61 – 32, with 13 Republicans, many up for election in 2008, voting for cloture. The result is that completion of the bill may now speed up and a number of non-germane amendments will fall by the wayside. In the meantime, the Senate yesterday continued meandering through the bill, with no recorded votes since September 10 except for cloture.

Most of the action on the bill is behind the scenes in negotiations led by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John Warner (R-VA). Apparently, there are as many as 90 amendments that will be included in the mother of all “managers’ package” of so-called non-controversial amendments that will be adopted all at one time. The Senate hopes to complete consideration of the bill today. There still could be recorded votes on endorsing the troops surge in Iraq and earmarks.

Speaking of hopes, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees also hope to complete the process of working through the differences between the chambers’ versions of the bills and producing a conference report before Congress recesses or adjourns at the end of next week.

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