Senate votes to advance defense bill, final passage expected Tuesday

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) announced that leadership is working to determine a time to vote on an amendment to the defense bill that would require congressional briefings on nuclear arms negotiations with Russia.

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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) introduced Amendment 3123, which would require the Department of Defense to brief relevant congressional committees on military and strategic proposals, by either the Russian Federation or the United States, to limit or control nuclear arms, missile defense systems or long-range conventional strike systems.

Kyl said his amendment was necessary because U.S. treaties have to be approved by the Senate, and the administration sometimes doesn’t brief lawmakers before negotiating agreements, which then have to be approved by the Senate. This amendment would allow lawmakers to voice concerns before proposals by the United States are presented to Russia on arms reductions.

Levin said he’s hopeful final passage of the bill will come as early as Tuesday. He also passed amendments 2923, 2943, 2997, 3023, 3121, 3142, 3144, 3172, 3276, 3298, 3278, 2996, 3047, 3291, 3282, 3292 and 3165 by voice vote.