After a lot of moving and shaking over the past 48 hours, today the Senate will begin consideration of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (now S. 1867).
The Senate was supposed to consider and hopefully complete action on the FY 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill (H.R. 2354, but Majority Leader Reid pulled it from consideration and now plans to move to consideration of the defense bill. It’s doubtful that the bill will be completed before Thanksgiving, and Reid could bring back the Energy and Water bill if the defense bill hits a snag.
If the Energy and Water bill does get back to the floor, we’ll be monitoring the fate of two amendments to increase NNSA’s weapons activities account by about $321 million. Recall that the Senate Appropriations Committee reduced the budget for this account by $440 million (or about 5.8%). One amendment (offered by Begich, McCain, Vitter, and Shaheen) uses the Patriot/MEADS program as the offset, while the other (offered by Corker and Kyl) uses the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Appropriations account as the offset (something we suggested might happen).
In the meantime, in preparation for the Senate’s consideration of the defense bill, head over to the mothership for our original and updated analysis of the Senate Armed Services Committee Version of the bill. I say updated because earlier this week the Committee made some adjustments to the bill in order to cut about $20 billion from its original mark to conform with the lower (Budget Control Act-influenced) spending levels in the Defense Appropriations bill. The Committee also rewrote a controversial provision related to detainee policy which remains, well, controversial.
Get all that?