OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: House starts wading through Defense bill amendments

Amash was off the House floor engaged in a lively debate with four Republican House members Wednesday evening before the general debate on the defense authorization bill began.

The amendments hardly stop there, however. The Rules Committee considered amendments on Iran, nuclear issues, contractor campaign finance, military hazing and even sea otters off the Pacific Coast. You can read the full list here.

East Coast missile fight, part two: There was a long debate in the House Armed Services Committee during last week’s markup about a new Republican plan for an East Coast missile interceptor site. The committee defeated an amendment from Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) to strip $100 million in the bill to begin work on the site. Now Garamendi has a new amendment for the full floor that would replace missile site with language to study the feasibility of such a site.

Appropriations defense bill moving, too: As the defense authorization bill is debated on the House floor, the defense appropriations bill will get marked up in the full House Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

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Like the House Armed Services Committee, the Defense Appropriations subcommittee has proposed a spending bill at a higher top-line than the president’s Pentagon budget, and it restored several weapons the Pentagon had slashed.

The defense bill is being marked up along with the State and Foreign Operations bill at an open hearing (the Defense subcommittee markup was closed). Defense subcommittee Chairman Bill Young (R-Fla.) said there were about 20 amendments that he knew of, and others could be offered as well.

Iron Dome funding for Israel: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is meeting Thursday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Pentagon, where the Obama administration could announce $680 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.

Israeli media reported earlier this week that the agreement would be announced at the meeting, and a U.S. official said Wednesday an announcement on Iron Dome is "expected" Thursday, though the official declined to discuss specifics. The $680 million is included in both the House Armed Services Defense authorization bill and the House Defense Appropriations bill, and congressional sources said Wednesday the agreement was likely.

Enforcing Iran sanctions: The House Foreign Affairs committee is holding a hearing Thursday on Iran sanctions, focusing on implementation and enforcement of sanctioning Iran for its nuclear program. The hearing comes after there were reports Wednesday that Iran is installing new centrifuges at an underground nuclear facility, one week before negotiations are set to resume between Tehran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent UN Security Council nations and Germany) on Iran’s nuclear program.

Mark Wallace, president and CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran; Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; and Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, are testifying.


 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Senate Intel panel to release “enhanced interrogation” report.
Obama awards the Medal of Honor.
Rep. Ron Paul is back on Capitol Hill.
Lawmaker wants to block Russian arms sales.
Gates says bin Laden decision was a risky one.
McCain wants more details on F-22 problems.
Gen. Odierno objects to House limits on troop reductions.
House passes bill changing Guard paid leave policy.

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