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Archive for Friday, December 7, 2001

Defense bill showdown nears

December 7, 2001

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— Republicans Thursday night demonstrated the votes to scuttle a Democratic plan to increase proposed spending on homeland security and recovery by $15 billion, as the Senate headed toward a showdown vote as early as today on a smaller GOP initiative.

In two test votes that were largely along party lines, Democrats fell 10 votes short of the 60 they would need to overcome a procedural challenge that Republicans are expected to make if they fail to pass their own version of the legislation.

Barring passage of the GOP alternative, the Senate is likely to find itself in a stalemate, requiring a negotiated compromise to pass the $318 billion military spending bill for this year and the anti-terrorism funding that has been attached to it.

The $15 billion proposed by Democrats including $7.5 billion for domestic security and $7.5 billion to help New York and other targets of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is in addition to a $20 billion anti-terrorism package supported by the president. President Bush has vowed to veto any spending beyond the $20 billion, and Thursday night's vote signaled that a Bush veto would be sustained.

The Democrats' plan would increase spending for airport security, protection of laboratories, local law enforcement and recovery assistance to New York City and Washington, D.C.

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