The effort by Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R) to pass a full-year fiscal 2011 defense spending bill separately came to an end Monday after the Senate voted to cut off debate on a patent reform bill. The vote, to invoke cloture, shuts down debate on unrelated amendments, meaning that Collins’ amendment could not be brought to the Senate floor for a vote, reported CQ Today.
The senator’s amendment was identical to the 2011 defense spending bill included in the full-year spending package the House passed Feb. 19, H.R. 1. Enacting a separate spending bill for defense has been a critical priority for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has said forcing the department to continue operating through continuing resolutions would harm the military’s readiness.
At this point, Congressional leaders have not indicated they are willing to move the defense spending bill separately, partially because it may be needed to pass the government-wide measure, according to CQ Today.