Senate Beats the Clock on Defense Spending Bill

A late-night vote prevented pay lapses and sent the measure to President Obama’s desk.

A U.S. soldier assists an evacuee in Leyte, Philippines, four days after a typhoon devastated the region.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
Add to Briefcase
Stacy Kaper
Dec. 19, 2013, 6:38 p.m.

The Sen­ate on Thursday passed the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act by 84-15 after a pro­trac­ted de­bate and Re­pub­lic­an dis­gruntle­ment over the pro­cess used to pass the meas­ure.

By passing the meas­ure be­fore ad­journ­ing, the Sen­ate en­sured that crit­ic­al na­tion­al se­cur­ity ini­ti­at­ives will not lapse at year’s end, in­clud­ing com­bat pay, mil­it­ary pay in­creases, re­sources for troops in Afgh­anistan, and coun­terter­ror­ism meas­ures.

The House ap­proved the same bill last week. It now moves to the pres­id­ent’s desk for his sig­na­ture.

The bill au­thor­izes $552.1 bil­lion for na­tion­al de­fense and an­oth­er $80.7 bil­lion for over­seas con­tin­gency op­er­a­tions.

It in­cludes some re­forms to ad­dress sexu­al as­saults, but law­makers hope to con­tin­ue that de­bate next year. It also takes steps to­ward Pres­id­ent Obama’s goal of clos­ing Guantanamo Bay by lift­ing re­stric­tions against de­tain­ee trans­fers abroad.

“While the bill does not ad­dress all of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s con­cerns, its pro­vi­sions re­gard­ing for­eign trans­fers of de­tain­ees held at the U.S. Nav­al Sta­tion, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will provide the ad­min­is­tra­tion ad­di­tion­al flex­ib­il­ity to trans­fer de­tain­ees abroad con­sist­ent with our na­tion­al se­cur­ity in­terests,” said White House press sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney in a press re­lease.

Re­pub­lic­ans cri­ti­cized the pro­cess, lament­ing the fact that the bill con­sidered crit­ic­al to na­tion­al de­fense lan­guished in the Sen­ate for six months without ac­tion — only to be fin­ished without the al­low­ance of an open amend­ment pro­cess.

The vote comes near the end of a con­ten­tious post-Thanks­giv­ing work peri­od colored by Re­pub­lic­an an­ger over Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id’s change in fili­buster rules that ef­fect­ively guts the op­pos­i­tion’s power to block most nom­in­ees.

As Re­id has forced mem­bers to vote on nom­in­ees since the con­ten­tious rule change, Re­pub­lic­ans in many cases have forced Demo­crats to run out the clock by tak­ing up max­im­um de­bate time after pro­ced­ur­al clo­ture votes.

What We're Following See More »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
4 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
4 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login