Wednesday, April 25, 2007

H.R. 1591 Iraq Supplemental - Conference Report

Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1591 - Press Release

Text of the Conference Report - 8 Mb PDF file, 251 pages.

What was Sec. 1315 in the Senate, and Section 1320 in the Conference Report ("REVISION OF UNITED STATES POLICY ON IRAQ") has been crossed out (pages 30-35 of the PDF) and reappears in modified form at Chapter 9, section 1904 (starting at Page 75). This reflects adoption of the House language over the Senate language.

UPDATE @ April 26

The vote is scheduled for 12:45 this afternoon, passage is guaranteed. The vote is likely to be the same as before, with Senators Smith and Hagel voting to pass it.

I'm wondering how much of the cruft in this bill (pork, minimum wage increase, hurricane Katrina relief) and whether any of the readiness as a condition for deployment language will be retained in the next go-'round.

The basic funding for military activity is completely fleshed out and fully negotiated, and I don't see much argument over those points. The 303 page Joint Explanatory Statement (not linked here) has many interesting items, not in the nature of emergency.

One being the replacement of 9mm sidearms with something else, where the request had been for 90 million dollars or so for replacements within the Air Force. Instead, Congress is authorizing a 5 million dollar study. (page 142)

2.5 billion dollars is allocated to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), while stating "The conferees are concerned that the organization is not effectively managing its resources to deliver effective counter-IED solutions to theater." (Page 92)

1.4 billion dollars (double the House allocation, and 400 million more than the Senate applied to begin with) is allocated to Grnd Standoff Mine Detection Systems. (page 113)

1.3 billion dollars (again, way more than House or Senate applications) is allocated to the Marines for EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) systems. (page 131)

At page 172, "The conferees have become aware of significant CBP construction program management lapses that may adversely impact deployment of new Border Patrol agents and endanger the successful implementation of border security initiatives." This is troubling in it's own right, but doubly so, having it appear in an conference remarks under an emergency supplemental that is supposedly aimed at action in Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign terrorism hot spots.

The bill provides funding for border security and the TSA (air security), which also seems out of place in a military supplemental.

50 million dollars for asbestos abatement and tunnel repairs relating to the Capitol building. (page 263).

UPDATE @ 13:08

Vote total of 51-47 is a prediction. Smith DID vote AYE, I haven't heard Hagel's name as of 1:08.

1:17 p.m.: H.R.1591 - The Conference Report Iraq Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill, was PASSED on a 51-46 vote.
GOP Aye votes: Hagel and Smith.
Not Voting: Johnson, McCain, mini-McCain (Graham).

UPDATE @ 13:17

No more roll-call votes this week. Senator Reid indicated his plan for next week, but I missed it. It's a bill that Senator Kennedy is associated with.

For now, the Senate is in morning business, and I expect speeches on the bill just passed.

OpEd By Joe Lieberman
Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last week a series of coordinated suicide bombings killed more than 170 people. The victims were not soldiers or government officials but civilians -- innocent men, women and children indiscriminately murdered on their way home from work and school.

If such an atrocity had been perpetrated in the United States, Europe or Israel, our response would surely have been anger at the fanatics responsible and resolve not to surrender to their barbarism.

Unfortunately, because this slaughter took place in Baghdad, the carnage was seized upon as the latest talking point by advocates of withdrawal here in Washington. ...

UPDATE @ May 2

President Bush's televised remarks upon his veto of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations.

And so the issue goes back to Congress, with the House being the initiator of any replacement bill for emergency supplemental funding.

Senator Lieberman made a good speech on the subject yesterday [Page 5371].

    The alternative to pulling out is standing up and fighting. That is what we are doing now in Iraq and doing with some success in Baghdad and Anbar Province. Rather than undermining General Petraeus and handing al-Qaida a victory, Congress should take swift and responsible action to get General Petraeus and our troops in the field the support they need to prevail.

    The Iraq war is not lost. But if this supplemental became law, it would be lost and America would suffer the consequences of that defeat for generations.

Meanwhile the Senate is implementing socialized health care incrementally, with certain aspects of reauthorizing the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. See S.1082 for details.

An odd juxtaposition of pending amendments ...

  • Landrieu Amendment No. 1004, to require the Food and Drug Administration to permit the sale of baby turtles as pets so long as the seller uses proven methods to effectively treat salmonella.
  • Dorgan Amendment No. 990, to provide for the importation of prescription drugs.

The Dorgan amendment is under a pending cloture motion, to limit debate on the issue of ordering the FDA modify its practices regarding the importation of ethical drugs. That cloture vote is scheduled for Thursday morning.


On other (unrelated) matters, Senator Reid indicated that immigration is scheduled to come up next week, to occupy about two weeks of time. I'm wondering if anything will pass.

And, for what it's worth, the slow pace of my posts here isn't because I've lost interest in the Senate. I've been following their activity, but they aren't doing anything "unpredictable" or "hidden" that amounts to a hill of beans.


Remember the allegations that Senator Frist had engaged in insider trading? Front page news in late 2005. (e.g., SEC Issues Subpoena To Frist, Sources Say, WaPo, Oct 13, 2005). The wacky liberal outfit, "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington" (CREW) called for an investigation, and I suspect they maintain that whatever Frist did was unethical. The SEC investigation is complete, the EC found no evidence of any illegal or unethical activity, and, well, see if you can guess who said this ...

This matter was closed yesterday, but the closing of this in the newspapers and on the news was certainly not the top story, not at the top of the newspaper. It was buried some place in the back. At no time during my conversations with Senator Frist or in my dealings with Senator Frist did I ever have any doubt about his integrity.

UPDATE @ May 10

The House passed a replacement for the vetoed H.R.1591, Iraq supplemental appropriations bill. The new bill, H.R.2206, includes readiness benchmarks for troop deployment, hurricane relief money, minimum wage adjustment, and some tax code adjustments - in short, it isn't a "clean" bill, and it imposes conditions on the president's conduct of nation-building in Iraq. See CRS Summary of H.R.2206 for more.


Blogger Epicurus said...

Quick question, cboldt. Is the motion to proceed to the conference report or the final passage subject to cloture? All I've heard is that this will pass the senate easily, and I was wondering if you knew if this was because the GOP decided to "let Bush handle it" of if they are proceedurally kept from blocking Senate passage, or if they know there's 60 votes regardless...



4/26/2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger cboldt said...

The motion to proceed and the decision to vote on the conference report are both potential targets of cloture. The GOP made a decision to get this to President Bush quickly, for his anticipated veto.
The GOP could stall this bill if 40 of its members decided to do so. Usually I'd say "41", but without Johnson, the 40 + 59 is the total number of votes available, and 59 is one shy of the 60 votes required to invoke cloture.

4/26/2007 10:54 AM  

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