Amendments to HR.2810 – FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Bill in the Senate

On September 18, the Senate approved the $692 billion FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Bill by a vote of 89-8. Despite a lot of time talking and negotiating, and 617 amendments filed to the bill, the Senate had a recorded vote on only one substantive issue: Authorization to Use Military Force.

The Senate avoided divisive votes on:

  • Nuclear weapons issues
  • Missile defense
  • Base closures
  • Budget caps and sequester
  • Transgender troops
  • Arms to Saudi Arabia
  • Policy toward North Korea
  • Indefinite detention

After adopting a package of 104 “non-controversial” amendments last week, it adopted 48 additional ones before the final vote. Typically, these were lowest-common denominator amendments:

Not in package: Buy America: Baldwin (D-WI) amendment to reinstate Buy America provisions requirements for certain critical components.

In package: Buy America Act training: Stabenow (D-MI) amendment to require a GAO study of Buy American training policies.

Not in package: Missile defense: Sullivan (R-AK) amendment to increase the number of interceptors in the ground-based mid-course missile defense system by 28 and potentially 104 in total.

In package: Missile defense: Sullivan (R-AK) sense of the Senate amendment that the U.S. should maintain an effective, robust layered missile defense system capable of defending the U.S.

The bill now goes to a conference with the House.

Amendment voted upon

Authorization to use military force (AUMF): Paul (R-KY) updated amendment No. 871 repealing the 2002 authorization to use military force against Iraq or against ISIS. Tabled 61-36, Sept. 13, 2017.

Key “non-controversial” amendments included in managers’ package

Nuclear terrorism: Donnelly (D-IN) amendment No. 508 requiring a National Academy of Sciences report recommending improvements to the U.S. strategies for preventing, countering, and responding to nuclear and radiological terrorism. (CR 7/27 – p.S4523)

Nuclear deterrence in Asian-Pacific: Hirono (D-HI) updated amendment No. 799 requiring a plan to enhance extended deterrence and assurance capabilities of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region. (CR 9/6 – p.S5009)

Space Corps: Nelson (D-FL), Cotton (R-AR) amendment No. 730 barring setting up a Space Corps separate from or subordinate to the current military departments. (CR 7/27 – p.S4605)

Nuclear modernization: Young (R-IN), Donnelly (D-IN) amendment No. 821 requiring a report on the potential to achieve greater efficiency by integrating elements of acquisition programs related to the modernization and sustainment of the nuclear triad, including opportunities for improved efficiencies and risks. (CR 9/7/17 – p.S5065)

Burma: Markey (D-MA), Gardner (R-CO), Cardin (D-MD) amendment No. 607 striking a provision in the bill expanding military-to-military engagement with Burma. (CR 7/27 – p.S4562)

Ukraine: Portman (R-OH), Blumenthal (D-CT) updated amendment No. 819 providing for an expanded Ukraine security assistance initiative, including $500 million for FY 2018, and extending training and security assistance for Eastern European countries. (CR 9/7 – p.S5064)

North Korea: Donnelly (D-IN) updated amendments No. 857 requiring a report on the U.S. strategy with North Korea. (CR 9/11 – p.S5118)

Pentagon financial statements: Perdue (R-GA), Wyden (D-OR) amendment No. 636 requiring an annual certification whether or not the full financial statements of the Department of Defense are reliable. (CR 7/27 – p.S4570)

Pentagon audit: Johnson (R-WI), Ernst (R-IA), Grassley (R-IA), Paul (R-KY) updated amendment No. 792 (earlier version #681) requiring a report on the audit of the Pentagon’s full financial statements. (CR 9/6 – p.S5007)

Homeporting aircraft carriers: McCain (R-AZ) for Rubio (R-FL) amendment No. 919 to provide for developing a second East Coast homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. (CR 9/11 – p.S5146)

Missile defense: Sullivan (R-AK) amendment No.1073 sense of the Senate that the U.S. should maintain an effective, robust layered missile defense system capable of defending the U.S. (CR 9/15 – p.S5762)

E-8 JStars aircraft: Isakson (R-GA), Perdue (R-GA) updated amendment No. 1032 blocking retirement of the E-8 JStars aircraft. (CR 9/13 – p.S.5695)

Buy America Act training: Stabenow (D-MI), Collins (R-ME), Baldwin (D-WI) amendment No. 1014 to require a GAO study of Buy American training policies. (CR 9/13, p.S5677)

Littoral Combat Ship: Strange (R-AL), Peters (D-MI), Baldwin (D-WI), Stabenow (D-MI) amendment No. 1086 to add $600 million for the Littoral Combat Ship. (CR 9/14 – p.S5767)  

Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI): Durbin amendment No. 1100 to permit the Secretary of Defense to extend the amount of time permitted to conduct security and background checks on non-citizens wishing to enroll in the military by one year. (CR 9/18/17 – p.5791)

Amendments not voted upon


INF Treaty: Warren (D-MA)-Lee (R-UT) amendment No. 984 requiring a Pentagon report on the military and security ramifications of Russia’s ground-launched cruise missile and barring spending on a U.S. dual-capable road mobile ground-launched missile system until the report is submitted. (CR 9/13 p.S5233)

INF Treaty: Warren (D-MA) amendment No. 685 barring spending for programs not permitted under the INF Treaty. (CR 7/27 – p.S4587)

First use of nuclear weapons: Markey (D-MA) amendment No. 605 barring the President from launching a first-use nuclear strike without prior congressional authorization. (CR 7/27 – p.S4562)

Nuclear cruise missile: Markey (D-MA) amendment No. 606 barring spending on a long range standoff weapon (nuclear cruise missiles for airplanes) or the W80 warhead life extension program. (CR 7/27 – p.S4562)

Costs of ballistic missile defense: Markey (D-MA) amendment No. 678 requiring a Congressional Budget Office report on a 10-year cost estimate for 1) the current ballistic and cruise missile defenses, 2) the cost of protecting against Russian and Chinese missile attack and 3) deploying space-based interceptors. (CR 7/27 – p.S4585)

Taking ICBMs off alert: Cantwell (D-WA) amendment No. 885 requiring ICBMs to be taken off high alert. (CR 9/11 – p.S5136)

Barring research or testing of low-yield nuclear weapons: Cantwell (D-WA) amendment No. 886 barring research or testing of low-yield nuclear weapons, (CR 9/11 – p.S5136)

Barring activities in violation of international agreements: Cantwell (D-WA), Warren (D-MA) amendment No. 887 barring activities in violation of any international agreement. (CR 9/11 – p.S5136)

Cost of modernizing the nuclear stockpiles: Cantwell (D-WA) amendment No. 889 requiring a Pentagon 30-year cost estimate of nuclear weapons modernization. (CR 9/11 – p.S5137)

Missile defense: Thune (R-SD) amendment No. 830 requiring at least two flight tests per fiscal year of the ground-based midcourse missile defense system. (CR 9/7/17 – p.S5068)

Missile defense: Sullivan (R-AK) amendment No. 1041 adding $2.3 billion for missile defense. (CR 9/13 – p.S5697)

Missile defense: Sullivan (R-AK) amendment No. 1042 to increase the number of interceptors in the ground-based mid-course missile defense system by 28 and potentially 104 in total. (CR 9/13 – p.S5697)

Missile defense: Strange (R-AL) amendment No. 1071 to require a report on the ground-based mid-course defense system contract. (CR 9/15 – p.S5761)

Ground-launched cruise missiles: Markey (D-MA) amendment No. 679 reallocating $65 million in the bill for a new ground-launched cruise missile to funding military capabilities to counter Russian INF Treaty violations. (CR 7/27 – p.S4585)

Open Skies Treaty: Cruz (R-TX) amendment No. 1068 (updated from 539) to restrict Russian overflights under the Open Skies Treaty until the removal of Russian limitations on overflights areas of their country and other conditions. (CR 9/15 – p.S5760)

Open Skies Treaty: Risch (R-ID) amendments No. 969, 970, 971, 972 and 973 requiring a report on countermeasures compliant with the Open Skies Treaty to respond to Russian non-compliance with the treaty. (CR 9/12 – p.S5227)

Plutonium capabilities: Heinrich (D-NM), Udall (D-NM) amendment No. 324 requiring a National Nuclear Security Administration report on nuclear pit production. (CR 7/26/17 – p.S4318). Also amendment No. 778 requiring a report on plutonium capabilities. (CR 9/6/17 – p.S4943)

B-2 bomber: Inhofe (R-OK) amendment No. 1070 to require that the B–2 fleet remains fully combat ready and in the primary mission aircraft inventory of the Air Force. (CR 9/15 – p.S5761)


Iran: Cruz (R-TX), Tillis (R-NC) amendment No. 537 requiring a report on all illicit activities such as terrorism, proliferation of nuclear or ballistic technology and other activities of some Iranians and the Iranian government. (CR 7/27 – p.S4529)

Iran: Gardner (R-CO), Warner (D-VA), Coons (D-DE) amendment No. 557 requiring mandatory sanctions on Iran if there are significant activities undermining U.S. cybersecurity. (CR 7/27 – p.S4533)

Arms to Saudi Arabia: Young (R-IN) amendment No. 585 limiting the sale of defense articles to Saudi Arabia. (CR 7/27 – p.S4540)

Refueling Saudi Arabian aircraft: Young (R-IN), Murphy (D-CT), Heller (R-NV) amendment No. 1081 limiting the refueling of Saudi aircraft for operations in Yemen. (CR 9/15 – p.S5766)

Arms to Saudi Arabia: Merkley (D-OR) amendment No. 661 barring transfer of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia. (CR 7/27 – p.S4577)

Arms to Saudi Arabia: Warren (D-MA) amendment No. 439 requiring a report on air-to-ground munitions supplies to Saudi Arabia and the resulting civilian casualties. (CR 7/27 – p.S4457)

Saudi Arabia’s military action in Yemen: McCain (R-AZ) amendment for Rubio (R-FL) No. 923 requiring a report on Saudi Arabia and its partners’ military actions in Yemen. (CR 9/11 – p.S5147)

Yemen: Murphy (D-CT) amendment No. 896 conditioning the Saudi-led coalition refueling operations in Yemen. (CR 9/11 – p.S5138)

Authorization to use military force (AUMF): Murphy (D-CT) amendment No. 770 to sunset the authorization to use military force within three years of enactment of the bill, unless reauthorized by Congress. (CR 8/3 – p.S4889)

Report on civilian casualties: Warren (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT) amendment No. 404 requiring report on civilian casualties caused as a result of U.S. military operations. (CR 7/27 – p.S4443)

Allied contributions to common defense: Lee (R-UT) amendment No. 464 requiring a report on the annual defense spending by each ally or partner country of the United States and how much each country contributes to military or stability operations involving the U.S. (CR 7/27 – p.S4466)

Afghanistan: McCain (R-AZ) amendment No. 609 Sense of Congress that the U.S. should adopt a vigorous strategy in Afghanistan by, among other steps, increasing the number of U.S. counterterrorism force in the country. (CR 7/27 – p.S4563)

Syria: Shaheen (D-NH), Sasse (R-NE) amendment No. 664 establishing a Syria Working Group to develop a military and diplomatic strategy for Syria. (CR 7/27 p.S4578)

Sanctions on China: McCain (R-AZ) amendment for Rubio (R-FL) No. 926 to lay out a policy and impose sanctions on China for its base construction in the South China sea. (CR 9/11 – p.S5148)

Sanctions on those involved in Syria and Iraq: McCain (R-AZ) amendment for Rubio (R-FL) No. 929 imposing sanctions on those that threaten the peace, security and stability of Iraq and Syria. (CR 9/11 – p.S5151)

Barring Hizballah access: McCain (R-AZ) amendment for Rubio (R-FL) No. 993 barring Hizballah access to international financial and other institutions. (CR 9/12 – p.S5235)

North Korea: Gardner (R-CO), Markey (D-MA), Rubio (R-FL) amendment No. 1056 placing additional sanctions on North Korea (CR 9/13 – p.S5702)

North Korea: Van Hollen (D-MD), Toomey (R-PA) amendment No. 1062 placing additional sanctions on North Korea (CR 9/14 – p.S5753)


Base closures: McCain (R-AZ), Reed (D-RI) updated amendments No. 875 and 933 (formerly No. 498) to establish procedures for making recommendations on base closures or realignment. (CR 9/11 – p.S5125 & 5154)

Pentagon audit: Perdue (R-GA), Wyden (D-OR), Sanders (I-VT) amendment No. 682 establishing a financial audit fund paid for in part by financial penalties for military departments that have not passed an audit or are not audit ready. (CR 7/27 – p.S4586)

Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO): Van Hollen (D-MD), Paul (R-KY) updated amendment No. 913 (formerly No. 776) requiring a Pentagon report on the criteria it is using for funding requests in the OCO account and an estimate of the recurring OCO costs. (CR 9/11 – p.S5145)

Military commissaries: Heller (R-NV) amendment No. 641 barring privatization of military commissaries. (CR 7/27 – p.S4572)

Sequestration: Cotton (R-AR) amendment No. 1007 (earlier version No. 456 and 826) to eliminate sequestration in the budget control act. Cotton has a sense of the Senate amendment No. 897 of a similar nature. (CR 9/13 – p.S5674)

Sequestration: Cornyn (D-TX) amendment No. 1084 eliminating defense sequestration. (CR 9/14 – p.S5767)  

Budget Control Act: McCain (R-AZ) amendment No. 1061, sense of Congress advocating the unconditional repeal of the Budget Control Act of 2011. (CR 9/14 – p.S5753)  

Transgender military: Gillibrand (D-NY), Collins (R-ME) updated amendment No. 1051 (formerly No. 633, 728 and 869) blocking steps to bar transgender soldiers until 60 days after the receipt of the Pentagon’s six-month review.  (CR 9/13 – p.S5700)

Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals: Durbin (D-IL) and 9 other Senators’ amendment No. 996 barring discharge of soldiers until the Secretary of Defense determines the suitability of Armed Forces members for retention. (CR 9/12 – p.S5239)

Regular order: Markey (D-MA) amendment No. 688 and 689 barring provisions of this bill from taking effect unless that Senate passes the bill through regular order and there is a bi-partisan conference on the bill. (CR 7/27 – p.S4587)

Civilian casualties: Warren (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT) amendment No. 855 requiring six month reports on civilian casualties caused by U.S. military operations. (CR 9/11 – p.S5118)

Buy America: Baldwin (D-WI), Reed (D-RI), Kaine (D-VA), Warren (D-MA) amendment No. 329 to reverse Section 863 to reinstate Buy America provisions requirements for certain critical components. (CR 7/26 – p.S4321).


Indefinite detention: Paul (R-KY) amendment No. 411 prohibiting the indefinite detention of prisoners even after an authorization to use military force. (CR 7/27 – p.S4449)

Indefinite detention: Lee (R-UT), Collins (R-ME), Feinstein (D-CA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Cruz (R-TX) amendment No. 467 prohibiting indefinite detention of citizens and lawful permanent residents even after an authorization to use military force. (CR 7/27 – p.S4467)

Indefinite detention: Graham (R-SC) amendment No. 1047 providing for loss of U.S. nationality or immigration status for supporting or aiding enemy forces and prohibiting the indefinite detention of citizens and lawful permanent residents. (CR 9/13 p.S5699)

Military humanitarian operations: Lee (R-UT) amendment No. 465 barring the deployment of U.S. forces to foreign nationals for military humanitarian operations without prior approval of Congress. (CR 7/27 – p.S4467)

Sage grouse:  Lee (R-UT) amendment No. 469 dealing with the Greater Sage Grouse. (CR 7/27 – p.S4468)

Transfer of defense articles to local police forces: Paul (R-KY), Schatz (D-HI), Wyden (D-OR) amendment No. 872 to limit the sale of excess defense equipment to police forces (CR 9/11-p. S5123)

Workplace safety: Inhofe (R-OK) and 8 other Senators’ amendment No. 906 to strike section 830 in the bill on workplace safety and health. (CR 9/11 – p.S5141)

Russian interference in elections: Cardin (D-MD) and 11 other Senators’ amendment No. 911 to establish a commission to end Russian interference in U.S. elections. (CR 9/11 – p.S5143)

Russian malign influence: Reed (D-RI), McCain (R-AZ), Cardin (D-MD), Brown (D-OH), Whitehouse (D-RI), Durbin (D-IL) amendment No. 939 requiring the President to submit to Congress a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat of Russia’s malign influence. (CR 9/11 – p.S5163)