You are herecontent / POTENTIAL SENATE AMENDMENTS TO SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL H.R. 4939

POTENTIAL SENATE AMENDMENTS TO SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL H.R. 4939


By Council for a Livable World

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Votes scheduled today on border security

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At noon today, the Senate has scheduled a vote on the Gregg (R-NH) amendment No. 3594 and the Reid (D-NV) amendment No. 3604 to add $1.9 billion for border security. The Gregg amendment is co-sponsored by Sens. Frist, Byrd, Domenici, Ensign, Alexander and Sununu. The amendments would fund more helicopters, boats, unmanned surveillance airplanes and personnel for the Department of Homeland Security and Coast Guard border patrol efforts. The Gregg amendment would pay for the program by an across-the-board 3% cut in funds in the bill to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including cuts in military personnel, operations and maintenance, Iraqi security forces training, programs to combat Improvised Explosive Devices, the Defense Health Program and the Death Gratuity Fund. The Reid amendment, on the other hand, declares the new money “emergency funding” not needing an offset.

Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) may offer a cloture motion this week to choke off some of the many amendments that are expected to be offered. Even so, consideration of the bill is likely to extend into next week. In the meantime, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill unless the price tag, now about $106 billion in the Senate, is brought closer to the $92 billion request – even as he requested an additional $2.2 billion to rebuild the hurricane protection system in New Orleans.

IRAQ AND WAR ON TERROR-RELATED AMENDMENTS

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Pressure on Iraqi government

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Sens. Levin (D-MI), Collins (R-ME) and Reed (D-RI) have introduced amendment No. 3591 to pressure the Iraqi government to put together a coalition government and to reach a political settlement to maximize the chances of defeating the insurgency and avoiding an all-out civil war.

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No permanent bases

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Sen. Biden (D-DE) is expected to offer an amendment to bar spending on permanent bases in Iraq. The Senate Appropriations Committee, in its report on the bill, observed, “It is the current policy of the United States to establish no permanent military bases in Iraq.” To that end, the Committee recommended, “approval of only those requested projects that immediately support operations ongoing in Iraq, rather than those requests which propose a longer term presence.” When considering this same bill, the House adopted by voice vote a comparable amendment. The vote reflected the mood of the American people that it is time to begin winding down the American presence in Iraq and avoid leaving behind a permanent presence.

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Democracy in Iraq

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Sens. Kennedy (D-MA) and Biden (D-DE) may offer an amendment to provide $96 million to promote democracy in Iran and the long-term development of civil society, the electoral processes and parliament.

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Civil war in Iraq

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Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) may offer an amendment to require a report from the President on whether there is a civil war in Iraq and how American forces in Iraq would be protected if there is a civil war.

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Funding for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Sen. Byrd (D‑WV) has indicated that he will offer an amendment stating that any request for funds for an ongoing military operation overseas, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, should be included in the annual budget of the President rather than using emergency supplemental appropriations bill that receive less scrutiny.

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Paying for the wars

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Sen. Biden (D-DE) is expected to offer an amendment to pay for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by revoking certain tax deductions for those in the top tax brackets that have not yet entered into force.

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Pay for reconstruction workers

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Sens. Warner (R-VA) and Clinton (D-NY) may offer as an amendment their bill S. 2600 to improve pay and berneifts of federal employees aiding reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION‑RELATED AMENDMENTS

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Nunn-Lugar funding

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Sens. Lugar (R-IN), Obama, Domenici, Levin, Hagel, Reed, Chafee, Dodd, Allen, Bayh, Boxer, Akaka, Lautenberg and Durbin have introduced amendment No. 3599 to increase Cooperative Threat Reduction funds by $8 million and permit $44.5 million to be spent until September 30, 2008.

VETERANS AND GUARD-RELATED AMENDMENTS

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Veterans’ Health care

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Sen. Murray (D-WA) is expected to offer an amendment to establish a $1.2 billion veterans care contingency fund to protect against any shortfalls.

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National Guard troops

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Sen. Bond (R-MO) may offer an amendment to provide additional funds for National Guard troops.

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Outreach to veterans

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Sen. Craig (R-ID) has offered amendment No. 3588 to repeal provisions requiring outreach to veterans on benefits and services available to veterans under law.

OTHER AMENDMENTS

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Total cost of bill

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Majority Leader Frist (R-TN) and Budget Committee Chair Gregg (R-NH) may offer an amendment to bring the total cost of the Supplemental Appropriations bill from $106.5 billion to about $92 billion.

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“Pork”

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Sen. Coburn (R-OK) and other fiscal conservatives have indicated that they will offer amendments to eliminate funding for some of the 100 earmarks added by the Appropriations Committee -- items they label pork, including $700 million to relocate a railway in Mississippi, $230 million for the V-22 Osprey aircraft and $227.5 million for advanced procurement of the C-17 cargo aircraft, none of which were requested by the Administration. Sen. Coburn has introduced amendments No. 3607, 3608, 3609 ($15 million for seafood promotion strategies), 3610 ($100 million for oyster bed and shrimp ground rehabilitation) and 3611 to delete funding for some of the earmarks in the bill.

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Tax incentives for oil companies

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Sen. Biden (D-DE) has said he will introduce an amendment to roll back tax incentives given to oil companies in the most recently-passed energy bill.

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Excise tax on oil profits

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Sens. Dorgan (D-ND) and Dodd (D-CT) have indicated they will offer an amendment to impose a 50% excise tax on profits on oil sales when the price of oil tops $50 per barrell.

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Cap on salaries

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Sens. Harkin (D-IA), Grassley, Ensign and Murray offered amendment No. 3600

to set a maximum national cap on salaries and bonuses for people employed in the Workforce Investment Act programs across the United States.

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Hurricane costs

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Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) has introduced amendment No. 3593 to provide $100 million to reimburse hospitals and other heath care facilities for losses due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

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Breaking up the oil companies

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Sen. Schumer (D-NY) has indicated that he will offer an amendment to examine whether the oil companies should be broken up.

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Border security

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Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) has indicated that he will offer an amendment to require 100% screening of all cargo entering the United States.

AMENDMENTS CONSIDERED

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Federal gas tax

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Menendez (D-NJ) amendment 3598 that would have suspended for 60 days the 18 cents federal tax on gas and made up for the lost revenue by eliminating “tax giveaways” to oil and gas companies failed on a point of order on April 25.

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