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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The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.
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