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Published:September 17th, 2007 06:19 EST
Defense Authorization bill today, It's go time

Defense Authorization bill today, It's go time

By SOP newswire

The Senate resumes consideration of the Defense Authorization bill today.  On July 18, after the Senate voted 52 – 47 for cloture on the Levin (D-MI) - Reed (D-RI) amendment (with 60 votes required to close debate), Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the Defense Authorization Bill from the Senate floor. 

N.B.  On July 25, the Senate took the military pay raise along with the Wounded Warrior legislation (see below), and passed them as a separate bill.

Amendments are now divided into:










= Reid (D-NV) - Feingold (D-WI) amendment establishing a firm timetable for withdrawal.
= Dodd (D-CT) amendment requiring all troops to be out of Iraq by the end of 2008.
= Levin (D-MI) - Reed (D-RI) amendment establishing a firm timetable to begin withdrawal, requiring a new mission for U.S. forces in Iraq, but only a "goal" for the completion of the withdrawal.

=Webb (D-VA) - Hagel (R-NE) amendment requiring more rest and training for U.S. troops before being sent back to Iraq or Afghanistan.

= Nelson (D-NE) - Collins (R-ME) amendment requiring the President to change the mission in Iraq to force protection, counterterrorism and Iraq troop training.

= Warner (R-VA) - Lugar (R-IN) amendment requiring a more substantial troop withdrawal than the one currently being contemplated by the White House.

= Coleman (R-MN) - Pryor (D-AR) amendment similar to Warner-Lugar.

= Voinovich (R-OH) amendment putting into legislation the Petraeus timeline for a partial troop withdrawal.

= Biden (D-DE) amendment endorsing a partition in Iraq.

= An amendment endorsing the Petraeus recommendation for a modest drawdown to pre-surge levels.

= A denunciation of the ad.
= An endorsement of the Iraq War as a central element in the war on terror.

Sens. Levin (D-MI) & Reed (D-RI), Smith, Hagel, Kerry, Snowe, Biden, Obama, Clinton, and Durbin filed amendment No. 2087.  The amendment requires troop withdrawals to begin 120 days after enactment of the bill, with most troops out by April 30, 2008.  After that date, troops would continue to have three primary roles:  training of Iraqis, counterterrorism and protecting American personnel and infrastructure.

Sen. Byrd (D-WV) filed amendment No. 2003 stating that nothing in the bill provides a specific authorization for American troops to remain in Iraq.

Sen. Byrd (D-WV) filed amendments No. 2004 and 2028 requiring the President to submit a plan within 60 days for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Sen. Hagel (R-NE) filed amendments No. 2048 and 2058 to require a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008 all U.S. combat forces from Iraq except for a limited number for specified purposes.

Sens. Salazar (D-CO), Alexander, Pryor, Bennett, Casey, Gregg, Lincoln, Sununu, Collins, Domenici, Nelson of Florida, Landrieu and McCaskill filed as an amendment No. 2063 their bill S. 1545 endorsing the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, including a goal for a drawdown of troops.

Sen. Chambliss (R-GA) filed amendment No. 2193, an unfriendly amendment, to the Salazar-Alexander amendment No. 2063.  The Chambliss amendment notes that the President's new strategy for Iraq has only recently become fully operational; supports many of the recommendations of the ISG and expresses the Sense of the Senate  that except in the event of unforeseen circumstances or developments, the President's new strategy for Iraq should not be significantly altered until Gen. Petraeus and Amb Crocker report to Congress on the progress of that strategy in September 2007.

Sen. Dodd (D-CT) filed amendment No. 2111 to begin Iraq troop withdrawal within a month and terminate funding for combat operations by April 30, 2008 except for limited purposes.

Sens. Collins (R-ME) & Ben Nelson (D-NE) filed amendments No. 2124 & 2145 to require U.S. troops to abandon combat missions and instead to focus on training the Iraqi security forces, targeting al-Qaida, protecting U.S. personnel and infrastructure and protecting Iraq's borders, with a goal of completing the transition by March 31, 2008.

Sens. Clinton (D-NY), Byrd (D-WV) & Sanders (I-VT) filed amendment No. 2146 to revoke the authority Congress granted for the war in 2002 so that it expires October 11, 2007, the fifth anniversary of the original authorization’s enactment.  The amendment also requires the President to seek a new authorization for the Iraq war.

Sens. Feingold (D-WI), Leahy, Dodd, Kerry, Boxer, Whitehouse, Kennedy, Harkin, Sanders, and Wyden filed amendment No. 2171 to begin troop withdrawals from Iraq within 120 days of enactment and completed by March 31, 2008, leaving troops only for counterterrorism, training and protection of U.S. infrastructure and personnel.  The Senate rejected this amendment when it was attached to the Supplemental Appropriations bill 29 - 67 on May 17.

Sens. Warner (R-VA) and Lugar (R-IN) filed amendment No. 2208 to require President Bush by October 16 to come up with a plan to dramatically narrow the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq with a recommendation to begin implementing the plan by December 31.

Sens. Biden (D-DE), Cantwell and Whitehouse filed amendment No. 2242 to bar permanent bases in Iraq.

Sens. Dodd (D-CT), Levin, Reed, Smith, Hagel, Kerry, Snowe, Biden, Obama, and  Clinton filed amendment No. 2274 to require troop withdrawal to begin 120 days after enactment and to be completed by April 30 except for limited purposes.  The reductions will be accompanied by a comprehensive diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community for the purpose of working collectively to bring stability to Iraq.

Sens. Levin (D-MI), Reed, Smith, Hagel, Kerry, Snowe, Biden, Obama, and Clinton filed amendment No. 2275 to the Dodd amendment with virtually the same text.

Sens. Vitter (R-LA) & Kyl (R-AZ) filed amendment No. 2010 to authorize an additional $87 million for Aegis missile defense for destroyers.  Sens. Kyl (R-AZ), Vitter, Inhofe, Lieberman, and Lott filed amendment No. 2178 for the same purpose.

Sen. Dodd (D-CT) filed amendment No. 2033 to provide $500 million for the Army National Guard to repair and replace war-battered equipment to address critical shortfalls identified by the National Guard Bureau, with the funds to be cut from the European Missile Defense system ($225 million) and Airborne Laser ($275 million).

Sens. Conrad (D-ND), Dorgan, Landrieu and Vitter filed amendments No. 2053 & 2172 to require maintaining 63 B-52 bombers with 11 in reserve.

Sens. McConnell (R-KY), Salazar, Allard and Bunning filed amendment No. 2061 to increase funding for chemical weapons demilitarization at Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky, and Pueblo Chemical Activity, Colorado, by $49 million.

Sens. Clinton (D-NY) & Whitehouse (D-RI) filed amendments No. 2109 and No. 2222, a version of her bill S. 1705, the Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Act, to establish the position of “Senior Advisor to the President for the Prevention of Nuclear Terrorism” and urging 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.

Sen. Bingaman (D-NM) filed amendment No. 2118 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.

Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) filed amendment No. 2311 to make it "the foremost objective of the United States in the Global War on Terror to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other leaders of al Qaeda and to destroy the al Qaeda network." To implement this goal, the bill authorizes $2.7 billion to build and support a 70,000 soldier Afghan National Army, $258 million for drug interdiction, $26 million for translators and interpreters and $363 million to support NATO operations in Afghanistan.  The amendment also states "As the drawdown of United States combat forces in Iraq begins, the forces being drawn down should be repositioned to support operations in Afghanistan."

Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) filed amendment No. 2227 withholding $200 million for Egypt until it implements a new judicial authority law that protects the independence of the judiciary.

Sens. Graham (R-SC) & Kyl (R-AZ) filed amendment No. 2064 to delete Section 1023 in the bill that would require the Secretary of Defense to determine the status of detainees who have been held by the Department of Defense as unlawful enemy combatants for more than 2 years. The committee-approved provision would establish requirements for the procedures to be used by such tribunals.

The vote on cloture on the Levin (D-MI)-Reed (D-RI) amendment requiring troop withdrawals to begin 120 days after enactment of the bill, with most troops out by April 30, 2008 was 52 – 47 (actually 53 – 46 because Sen. Reid switched his vote to be able to make a motion to reconsider). The vote may be reconsidered when the Defense bill returns to the Senate floor.


Council for a Livable World

John Isaacs


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