Today, the Senate completed action on the bill, approving it by a vote of 98-0. It is the 51st consecutive year that the Senate has acted on the bill, important to the committee to demonstrate relevance.
According to Senator McCain, there were 392 amendments filed to the bill, and 145 acted upon.
There are only a couple of weeks to work out compromises with the House-passed bill, which has major differences with the Senate bill, including on nuclear weapons issues, missile defense, the war in Afghanistan and other questions.
Overall, the bill authorizes $631.4 billion for defense, including $525.8 billion for the base budget, $88.2 billion for the war in Afghanistan and $17.4 billion, mostly for the Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs.
MAJOR AMENDMENTS ALREADY CONSIDERED
Embassy security: McCain amendment No. 3051 to authorize additional Marine Corps personnel for the performance of security functions for US embassies, consulates and other diplomatic facilities abroad. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 28.
Biofuels: Udall (D-CO) amendment No. 2985 to restore the Pentagon ability to invest in biofuels by striking Section 313 in the bill. Adopted 62-37 Nov. 28.
Sexual offenses in the military: Gillibrand (D-NY)-Collins (R-ME)-Snowe (R-ME) amendment No. 3016 requiring the military to discharge service people convicted of certain sexual offenses. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 28.
Land-based missiles: Barrasso (R-WY) amendment No. 3083 urging the U.S. to – consistent with U.S. international obligations – retain intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch facilities currently supporting deployed strategic nuclear delivery vehicles within the limit of 800 deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers, maintain ICBM’s on alert or operationally deployed status; and preserve ICBM’s silos in operational or warm status. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 29.
Missile defense: Ayotte (R-NH)-Lieberman (I-CT)-Collins (R-ME) amendment No. 3003 to require three Environmental Impact Statements on potential East Coast sites and the Pentagon to deliver with the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request next year a plan to deploy interceptors at an East Coast site. Withdrawn Nov. 29.
Nuclear weapons triad: Hoeven (R-ND)-Tester (D-MT)-Hatch (R-UT) amendment No. 2991 endorsing the maintenance of the strategic nuclear weapons triad of land-based missiles, sea-based missiles and bombers. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 29.
Backlog on veterans’ claims: Cornyn (R-TX) amendment No.3158 to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress a plan to reduce the current backlog of veterans claims. Adopted 95-0 Nov. 29.
Biofuels: Hagan (D-NC) amendment No. 3095 to strike a section in the bill that would limit the military’s ability to spend money on biofuel refineries. Adopted
54-41 Nov. 29.
Afghanistan: Merkley (D-OR) amendment No. 3096 to encourage an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Adopted 62-33 Nov. 29.
Autism: Gillibrand (D-NY) amendment No. 3058 to provide treatment of autism in the Pentagon’s tricare program. Adopted 66-29 Nov. 29.
Afghanistan: McCain (R-AZ) revised amendment No. 3261 to require a report on risk assessments for changes in U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 29.
NNSA oversight: Nelson (D-NE) amendment No. 3279 calling for additional external and independent oversight of the National Nuclear Security Administration by the Department of Energy. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 29.
Guantanamo Bay: Ayotte (R-NH)-Inhofe (R-OK)-Chambliss (R-GA) amendment No. 3245 prohibiting the transfer or release of individuals from the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Adopted 54-41 Nov. 29.
Indefinite detention: Feinstein (D-CA)- Lee (R-UT)-Coons (D-DE)-Collins (R-ME)-Paul (R-KY)-Lautenberg (D-NJ)-Gillibrand (D-NY)-Kirk (R-IL) amendment No. 3018 prohibiting the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents without charge or trial. Adopted 67-29 Nov. 29.
Bilateral agreement with Afghanistan: Sessions (R-AL) amendment No. 3009 to cut 50 percent of the unobligated funds for the Executive Office of the President if the President does not submit to Congress details of a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan 30 days before entering into the agreement. Adopted by voice vote Nov. 30.
Pentagon civilian work force: Cardin (D-MD) amendment No. 3025 to eliminate a cap on the Pentagon’s civilian work force. Defeated 41-53, Nov. 30.
Iran sanctions: Menendez (D-NJ)-Kirk (R-IL) amendment No. 3232 to bar all transactions with Iran’s energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors and its ports, and ban the sale to Iran of certain metals, including graphite, aluminum, steel and metallurgical coal, used in those sectors, as well as other industrial processes. Adopted 94-0 Nov. 30.
Survival benefits: Nelson (D-FL) amendment No. 3073 to repeal a provision that reduces annuities paid to the surviving spouses of military personnel. Amendment failed under budget point of order 58-34 (60 votes needed) Nov. 30.
Pentagon audit: Coburn (R-OK) amendment No. 3237 to set forth consequences for the failure of the Pentagon to obtain audits with an unqualified opinion on its financial statements by Fiscal Year 2017.
National Nuclear Security Administration: Kyl (R-AZ)-Tom Udall (D-NM) revised amendment No. 2927 to set up a special panel to evaluate the activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency tasked with managing the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. Adopted by voice vote Dec. 4.
Syria: McCain (R-AZ) amendment No. 3262 to require a report on U.S. military activities to deny or significantly degrade the use of air power against civilian and opposition groups in Syria, including an assessment of possibility of air strikes, the deployment of air-defense systems in neighboring countries and the imposition of no-fly zones over population centers. The proponents of the amendment see it as a small step to great U.S. military involvement in Syria. Adopted 92-6 Dec. 4.
Consultation with Congress: Kyl (R-AZ)-Kerry (D-MA) revised amendment No. 3123 to require regular briefings and consultations with Congress on any U.S.-Russian negotiations on nuclear arms, missile defense and long-range conventional strike weapons. There is sense of the Senate language recommending Senate treaty approval for any negotiated arrangements obligating the U.S. to reduce or limit forces or armaments “in any militarily significant way.” Adopted by voice vote Dec. 4.