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Policy Bill Conference Should Go Quickly

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  • December 5, 2012
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The House and Senate should be able to settle their differences over competing versions of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill in short order, with a conference report emerging as early as next week.

The chairmen and ranking members of the two chambers’ Armed Services committees held an initial meeting Wednesday to reconcile their differences, reported CQ.

Despite the optimism regarding a relatively smooth conference, some contentious issues will need to be resolved, most notably the military’s shift toward alternative fuels, language on military detainees, sanctions on Iran, and whether DOD will cover the cost of abortions for service women who are victims of rape or incest.

Another potential obstacle to enacting a defense authorization bill for 51 consecutive years is the threat of a White House veto. One concern is the amount of spending; the House version authorizes about $4 billion more than the president requested and $8 billion more than last year’s Budget Control Act calls for. The Senate version’s topline figure is closer to the president’s budget proposal.

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