Senate seeks to finish work on defense authorization

The Senate next week will try to complete action on the fiscal 2002 defense authorization bill, which hit a snag this week when Republicans tried to offer energy amendments in an effort to win assurances from Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., that he would bring up broad energy legislation later this year.

Daschle filed cloture on the bill late Wednesday, with a vote to occur Tuesday morning. Daschle has said he might bring up the FY02 Defense appropriations bill before the authorization bill if the authorization bill is still hung up.

Democrats Wednesday also were seeking unanimous consent to bring up a mental health parity bill, but a GOP aide said the issue had too many problems. Additionally, leaders hope to bring up an airport security bill next week, although a dispute over labor and health benefits for laid-off workers could hold it up.

After two shortened workweeks to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the House next week will resume its regular schedule with the farm bill and intelligence reauthorization legislation slated for floor consideration Wednesday and the remainder of the week. If conferees can complete work on FY02 appropriations bills, the House could also take up conference reports next week.

The House is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. for morning hour, begin legislative business at 2 p.m. and vote on several suspension bills after 6 p.m. No votes are expected past 2 p.m. next Friday.

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