Senate Pushes 2006 Authorization

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are scrambling to get the 2006 defense authorization bill to the floor for debate, after it has been stalled for months due to disputes over hundreds of amendments. In an Oct. 7 letter to both Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the committee voiced frustration that this could be the first time in more than 40 years that the Senate has failed to pass a defense authorization measure. Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) told the Washington Post that a deal had been “pretty close” that would have permitted 12 amendments each by Republicans and Democrats. The deal stalled, said Warner, because Democrats have refused to drop two amendments—calling for investigations of military detainee treatment and the Administration’s Hurricane Katrina response.