OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Senate takes up defense budget bill

¡Guantanamera!: Another House fight that is sure to make its way to the other side of Capitol Hill is the debate over detainee rights. Last Friday, House members capped weeks of contentious debate on the issue last Friday when they rejected a plan banning indefinite detention of terror suspects caught in the United States.

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The legislation was introduced as an amendment to the House defense bill by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.). But the House did approve language that would guarantee habeas corpus rights to detainees. We could see some fireworks from Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), given their history squaring off against the administration on this issue. We will have to wait and see if history repeats itself this time around.

Taiwan fight: A plan to sell F-16 fighters to Taiwan might have taken off in the House bill, but it could come crashing down once the Senate gets a hold of the legislation. House members passed a measure guaranteeing the United States would sell no less than 66 fighters to Taipei, to help that island nation defend itself against Chinese aggression. The White House opened the door for such a move when it shifted its stance on selling arms to Taiwan earlier this year. Defense lawmakers might not repeal the House move wholesale, but expect the language — specifically on the number of planes to be sold — to be softened significantly once the final Senate defense mark is complete.

Open and shut: As many readers of The Hill know, the Senate — unlike its House counterpart — marks up its bills behind closed doors. But the Project on Government Oversight is making a lobbying push for the committee to open up its full committee markup. The group has the support of 45 organizations and submitted a petition to the senators on the committee with 1,000 signatures. The group is hoping to convince the committee’s senators when they vote this week whether the full mark-up should be open or closed, though it’s unlikely the panel will break with their tradition and change things. A Levin spokeswoman tells The Hill the Senate markups are closed because the committee discusses classified information in its deliberations.

But there's a small sign that things may be changing ...

One will be open: The Readiness subcommittee markup, chaired by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), will be open to the public, if you’re looking to catch a glimpse of the committee in action. This will be the second year in a row that McCaskill’s subcommittee has been the lone open markup as the panel works on the authorization bill.


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