Senate Poised to Debate Defense Policy Bill

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 14, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

The Sen­ate on Thursday began the pro­cess of con­sid­er­ing le­gis­la­tion that cov­ers nuc­le­ar-weapons spend­ing and may be amended to in­clude in­creased sanc­tions against Ir­an.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-Nev.) filed a so-called clo­ture mo­tion that will com­pel the start of de­bate on the fisc­al 2014 de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill in the com­ing days, The Hill news­pa­per re­por­ted. Re­id said he wants the cham­ber to wrap up its multi-day de­bate on the Pentagon policy le­gis­la­tion be­fore Thanks­giv­ing.

Sen­at­ors are ex­pec­ted to of­fer hun­dreds of pro­posed amend­ments, in­clud­ing at least one that would ex­pand eco­nom­ic sanc­tions against Ir­an, in an at­tempt to force the Per­sian Gulf coun­try to reach a deal with the United States and five oth­er na­tions to curb its nuc­le­ar-de­vel­op­ment work. Sen­at­or Lind­sey Gra­ham (R-S.C.) has vowed to of­fer such an amend­ment.

The de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion bill also cov­ers Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion fund­ing.

The Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee ap­proved its de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion le­gis­la­tion in June, the same month that the Re­pub­lic­an-led House passed its con­trast­ing ver­sion of the bill.

The Sen­ate pan­el wants to au­thor­ize $526.6 bil­lion in spend­ing for the De­fense De­part­ment’s base budget, or $9 mil­lion less than re­ques­ted by Pres­id­ent Obama. The le­gis­la­tion pro­poses $17.8 bil­lion in fund­ing for na­tion­al-se­cur­ity pro­grams in the En­ergy De­part­ment, which is $16 mil­lion less than the ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­posed for them.

The au­thor­iz­a­tion bill sets over­all spend­ing amounts, but the sep­ar­ate de­fense ap­pro­pri­ations bill more dir­ectly dic­tates the na­tion­al-se­cur­ity fund­ing.

Fisc­al 2014 star­ted on Oct. 1.

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