NOTE: This post is being regularly updated in response to events on the Senate floor
On December 4 the Senate approved the FY 2013 Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – S. 3254 – by a vote of 98-0. The Senate considered 145 amendments to the legislation.
The bill authorizes $631.4 billion for defense, including $525.8 billion for the base budget, $88.2 billion for the war in Afghanistan and $17.4 billion, mostly for the Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs.
The Senate began debate on the legislation on November 27. Initially there appeared to be an unwritten agreement that the bill must be passed and off the floor by the end of the day Friday (November 30). However, bill managers Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin and Ranking Member Sen. John McCain missed this unofficial deadline. Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) filed cloture on the bill on November 30. The Senate voted to invoke cloture on the bill on the evening of December 3.
On November 29, the Obama administration released a statement of administration policy threatening to veto the final version of the bill if it includes certain provisions with which it has significant concerns, including a provision that would provide funding for and require construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF).
Below is a list of the amendments that were filed on nuclear weapons including their final fate. The bill now moves on to a House-Senate conference committee which will iron out the differences between the two versions of the bill. Key differences between the bills re: our portfolio include a House-proposed East Coast missile defense site, House-proposed increases on nuclear weapons spending, House-proposed limitations on the implementation of the New START treaty, and more.
- Iran Sanctions: Menendez (D-NJ)-Kirk (R-IL) amendment No. 3232 (APPROVED 94-0) to enhance sanctions imposed with respect to Iran. The amendment would bar all transactions with Iran’s energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors and its ports, and would ban the sale to Iran of certain metals, including graphite, aluminum, steel and metallurgical coal used in those sectors, as well as other industrial processes.
- National Nuclear Security Administration: Kyl (R-AZ)-Tom Udall (D-NM) amendment No. 2927 (MODIFIED AND APPROVED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT) to set up a Congressional advisory panel on the governance structure of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency tasked with managing US nuclear warheads and their supporting infrastructure.
- National Nuclear Security Administration: Nelson (D-NE) amendment No. 3279 (APPROVED BY VOICE VOTE) calling for additional external and independent oversight of the National Nuclear Security Administration by the Department of Energy.
- Nuclear Triad: Hoeven (R-ND)-Tester (D-MT)-Hatch (R-UT) amendment No. 2991 (APPROVED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT) expressing the sense of the Senate that (1) the United States should maintain a triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems; and (2) the United States is committed to modernizing the component weapons and delivery systems of that triad.
- Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs): Hoeven (R-ND) amendment No. 2992 requiring the United States to maintain 450 operational land-based intercontinental ballistic missile launch facilities whether in deployed or non-deployed status.
- Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs): Barasso (R-WY)-Hoeven (R-ND)-Enzi (R-WY)-Tester (D-MT)-Hatch (R-UT) amendment No. 3083 (APPROVED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT) allowing the Secretary of Defense to maintain the readiness and flexibility of the ICBM force.
- Missile defense: Ayotte (R-NH)-Lieberman (I-CT)-Collins (R-ME) amendment No. 3003 (WITHDRAWN) to require by the end of 2013 a report on three possible locations for an East Coast missile defense site, an environmental impact statement for each possible location, and a plan to deploy an appropriate missile defense interceptor for a missile defense site on the East Coast.
- Nuclear Terrorism Prevention: Grassley (R-IA) amendment No. 2990 to attach the Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act of 2012 to the FY 2013 NDAA. For more information on this issue, see here.
- Plutonium Pit Reuse: Kyl (R-AZ) amendment No. 3033 to require a report on the feasibility, cost, and advisability of reusing plutonium pits in nuclear warheads.
- Arms Control Negotiations with Russia: Kyl (R-AZ) amendment No.
31233239 (MODIFIED AND APPROVED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT) requiring the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress with regular briefings and updates on the military implications of proposals of the United States and Russia under consideration in negotiations on nuclear arms, missile defense, and long-range conventional strike systems. There is also a sense of the Senate recommending Senate treaty approval for any negotiated arrangements obligating the U.S. to reduce or limit forces or armaments “in any militarily significant way.”
- Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security: Risch (R-ID) amendment No. 3094 (APPROVED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT) requiring the Secretary of Energy to carry out a program on scientific engagement in countries selected by the Secretary for purposes of the program in order to advance global nonproliferation and nuclear security efforts.
- Medical Isotope Production: Bingaman (D-NM)-Murkowski (R-AK) amendment No. 3208 (APPROVED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT) to promote the production of molybdenum-99 in the United States for medical isotope production, and to condition and phase out the export of highly enriched uranium for the production of medical isotopes.