Debating the Debate Process

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate must consider amendments aimed at curbing military sexual assaults, as well as those related to the Guantanamo Bay detention center, if it hopes to reach a consensus on the more than $600 billion Fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill before the Thanksgiving break. However, he pushed back Tuesday against Republicans urging a more open discussion on potential amendments, saying he “will not allow” the authorization bill “to be sidetracked by debates and amendments unrelated to our nation’s defense.” On Tuesday, the Senate rejected two amendments—both dealing with Guantanamo. The White House has said it agrees with the Senate in “a number of areas,” though the Administration does have some “serious concerns with certain provisions,” according to a Nov. 18 statement of policy. Among those areas of concern, is language in the proposed legislation that could affect future BRAC initiatives, reductions in research and development funding, as well as funding limitations on the planned realignment of marines in the Asia-Pacific. (Reid statement on NDAA)