Senate Considers Amendments to Defense Bill, OKs Limits on DOD Transfers to Police Departments
How do you feel about these proposed amendments to the defense bill?
by Countable | 7.23.20
UPDATE 7/21/2020 (2:55pm EDT) - Senate adopts defense amendment limiting transfers of military gear to police departments:
- The Senate voted 90-10 to adopt an amendment to the NDAA offered by Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) that would prohibit the transfer of bayonets, grenades (other than stun & flash-bang grenades), weaponized tracked combat vehicles, and weaponized drones.
- The Inhofe amendment was opposed by 10 senators including Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
- Prior to adopting the Inhofe amendment, the Senate voted 51-49 to reject a broader amendment offered by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) that would've also banned grenade launchers, firearms of .50 caliber or higher & ammunition, tracked combat vehicles,and asphyxiating gases. That vote was mostly along party-lines, with Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Rand Paul (R-KY) the only Republicans to vote in favor.
UPDATE - 7/20/2020: The Senate is set to take up at least four NDAA amendment votes on Tuesday, including on the Schatz, Inhofe, Shaheen, and Cornyn amendments.
What’s the story?
- The Senate this week is considering several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 before voting on passage of the underlying bill.
- Overall, the NDAA authorizes $731 billion in discretionary defense spending for fiscal year 2021 and sets a number of defense policies, ranging from the number of personnel in the Armed Forces, to strategies aimed at countering adversaries such as the People’s Republic of China, to renaming Dept. of Defense (DOD) assets named after Confederates.
- Here’s a rundown of some of the higher profile amendments that are expected to receive votes on the Senate floor subject to a 60 vote threshold for adoption.
What are the main amendments?
- Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) - DOD Property Transfers to Law Enforcement Agencies (#2252): This amendment would prohibit the transfer of bayonets, grenade launchers, grenades (excluding stun & flash-bang grenades), explosives, and firearms of .50 caliber or higher & ammunition; tracked combat vehicles; weaponized drones; asphyxiating gases; and other items to law enforcement agencies. It would also increase reports & notice requirements prior to transfer of defense equipment to law enforcement agencies. (Failed 51-49; 7/21/20 12:25pm)
- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) - DOD Property Transfers to Law Enforcement Agencies (#2411): This amendment would prohibit the transfer of bayonets, grenades (other than stun & flash-bang grenades), weaponized tracked combat vehicles, and weaponized drones. (Adopted 90-10; 7/21/20 1pm)
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) - Semiconductor Manufacturing (#2244): This amendment would establish a grant program to incentivize the manufacturing of semiconductors to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. entities & national security. The grant program would require manufacturers to meet certain requirements, such as employing economically disadvantaged individuals. (Adopted 96-4; 7/21/20 5pm)
- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) - Contaminated Drinking Water CDC Study (#1729): This amendment would increase funding for a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substance contamination in drinking water. (Adopted by voice vote; 7/21/20 5pm)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) - 10% Cut to DOD Budget (#1788): This amendment would cut defense spending authorizations by 10% for FY2021 and redirect that authorization to a grant program to reduce poverty in distressed communities. (Not adopted 23-77; 7/22/20 1pm)
- Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) - Diseases Related to Herbicide Agents During the Vietnam War (#1972): This amendment would add Parkinson’s disease, bladder cancer, hypertension, and hypothyroidism to the list of veterans’ diseases covered by a presumption of service connection to herbicides used during the Vietnam War. (Adopted 94-6; 7/22/20 2pm)
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) - Cybersecurity Research Report (#2080): This amendment would require the DOD to include an element in annual cybersecurity reports addressing work with academic consortia on high priority cybersecurity research activities. (Adopted by voice vote; 7/23/20 10am)
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway / Public Domain)
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