Senators Agree on Fix to Align Authorization with Spending Bill
The Senate version of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill moved a little closer to being debated on the chamber floor after the Armed Services Committee reached a bipartisan deal last week to drop about $20 billion from the measure’s authorization level.
The move was needed after August’s debt ceiling agreement capped federal spending for FY 2012. The amendment the panel agreed on would lower the bill’s defense authorization level to $513 billion, the same level of funding the department was allocated in FY 2011. The $20 billion reduction was achieved by spreading out small cuts, rather than cancelling any single program, reported CQ Today.
The publication also reported that the authorization bill is expected to be placed on the Senate calendar in the coming weeks even though a dispute with the administration over several terrorist detainee provisions in the measure has not yet been settled. The provisions opposed by the White House would bar accused terrorists with direct ties to al Qaeda from being held in federal prisons.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently indicated he had dropped his demand that the controversial provisions be removed from the bill, which the Armed Services Committee approved in June, before he would bring it to the floor.