Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Senate Completes Work on Defense Authorization Bill

On October 1, the Senate completed action on the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill. The final vote was 92 – 3 in favor. Over 400 amendments were filed to the bill, and the Senate acted on 214 of them. The House and Senate versions of the bill must now be reconciled in conference.

Iran-related amendments, which passed and are included with the bill
Amendment No. 3017: On September 26, 2007, the Senate voted 76-22 to pass a modified version of Amendment No. 3017 introduced by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). Senators Lieberman and Kyl dropped paragraphs 3 and 4 under Section (b), the Sense of Senate section, in attempts to alleviate concerns that the resolution might be taken as an authorization for the use of force against Iran. Here is the modified Kyl-Lieberman Amendment.

Amendment No. 2024: On July 12, the Senate voted 90 to 5 to pass a modified version of Sen. Sessions (R-AL) amendment No. 2024. The amendment states that it should be the policy of the United States to develop and deploy, as soon as technologically possible, an effective defense against “the threat from Iran,” and that any U.S. missile defense system in Europe should be complementary to any missile defense system fielded by NATO.Click here to view the modified version of the amendment.

Amendment No. 2073: On July 11, the Senate passed the Lieberman (I-CT), McCain, Kly, Graham, Coleman, Collins, Sessions, Levin, Salazar and Craig amendment No. 2073 with a vote of 97-0. The amendment accuses Iran of assisting forces in Iraq that are contributing to the destabilization of Iraq and the murders of Americans, demanding that Iran cease those activities and requiring the Administration to report to Congress concerning Iran's activities there and responses to those activities. Most notably, the changed version closed with the sentence: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of Armed Forces against Iran.” Here is the modified version.

Iran-related amendments, which were introduced but were not included with the bill
Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) filed his bill S. 970 as amendment No. 2166 to expand and strengthen sanctions on Iran and countries that deal with Iran. There was never a vote on the amendment. It is unlikely that S. 970 will come up for a vote as a stand alone measure anytime soon given the Congressional schedule. Senator Shelby also has concerns with the bill and it is being held up in the Banking Committee.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, September 25, the House version of the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, H.R. 1400, passed with a vote of 397-16 on suspension of the rules. Four Republicans and 12 Democrats voted against the measure, with 20 Members not voting.

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