War supplemental tops next week’s congressional agenda

The Senate is set to move next week to the conference report of the fiscal 2009 war supplemental bill, but Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., are threatening to stall Senate business over expected removal of a provision barring release of detainee mistreatment photos.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday said he expects conferees to wrap up work on the report this afternoon, with a House vote Monday or Tuesday and the Senate vote a day later.

House conferees will likely prevail in removing a Senate-passed amendment that bars the White House from having to release of photos of detainee mistreatment in response to a lawsuit. McCain on Thursday said he would join Lieberman and Graham in a threatened filibuster of the supplemental and other Senate bills over removal of the provision. He said they would "do everything that we can to oppose such legislation," McCain said.

It isn't clear if Democrats have enough votes to overcome a filibuster. "I don't know," Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said when asked if he could get to 60 votes. Reid did not directly answer a question about votes, but stressed the need to quickly pass the bill to fund troops overseas.

If the Senate finishes work on the supplemental, it will likely move to a bill that would set up a public-private partnership to promote international travel to the United States, a Reid spokeswoman said. The bill is strongly backed by Nevada lawmakers, including Reid, eager to promote travel to Las Vegas.

Reid also said he "hopes to move forward" on a drug reimportation bill. A bipartisan group of senators hoped to attach the measure to a bill giving the FDA power to regulate cigarettes, which the Senate is expected to pass on Thursday. Reid did not allow a vote on the amendment, saying it could endanger the bill, but he told Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., that he would seek a separate vote. It is unclear when the bill might come up, Reid's spokeswoman said.

The House expects to take up the FDA-tobacco bill and the long-delayed supplemental next week. Also on the agenda are the Commerce-Justice-Science and Homeland Security appropriations bills.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Thursday that the House will probably vote on the Senate's version of the tobacco bill rather than going to conference to work out differences in the two versions. President Obama has said he would sign the bill.

While Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have said they expect the war funding bill to be on the floor next week, although House-Senate negotiators are still trying to reach agreement on the package.

The House named conferees on Thursday and overwhelmingly approved a nonbinding Republican motion to instruct conferees to include the Lieberman-Graham amendment in the final bill. Leading the House conferees are Appropriations Chairman Committee David Obey, D-Wis., and ranking member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., and ranking member C.W. (Bill) Young, R-Fla. They are scheduled to meet this afternoon with Senate conferees.

Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.