Senate Nears Vote on Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate on Wednesday cleared the way for a vote on S. 1867, its version of the Fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, by week’s end by moving to limit additional floor debate, which already has gone on for more than a week. The vote is expected on Thursday or Friday. The $662 billion bill would provide $27 billion less than the Obama Administration originally requested. This reflects the amount of reductions called for in the 2011 Budget Control Act. Already senators have considered some 100 amendments. For example, they have approved add-on language to give the National Guard Bureau chief a permanent seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and place conditions on US counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan. Senators on Tuesday voted down the attempt to strip controversial language from the bill requiring military detention of captured terrorists, reported The Hill. This sets up a potential veto by President Obama, reported the Huffington Post. Some lawmakers argue that this detention language also could lead to the unconstitutional detention of Americans suspected of terrorism. On Thursday, the senators may take up whether to add language imposing tougher sanctions on Iran for pursuing nuclear weapons.