Kerry's North Korea amendment tops Brownback's

The Senate is pressing the Obama administration to file a report on North Korea’s conduct since it was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

President Bush removed North Korea from that list on Oct. 11, 2008, as part of U.S. negotiations on the communist country’s nuclear program. However, this year North Korea conducted several missile firings and nuclear testing in defiance of the United States and its allies.

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Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sponsored an amendment to the 2010 defense-authorization bill expressing a sense of the Senate — an opinion that does not make law — that the Obama administration should conduct a review to determine whether North Korea should be re-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. Kerry’s amendment also expresses that the administration should fully enforce existing sanctions, and should explore additional sanctions, with respect to North Korea.

The Senate passed the non-binding amendment on Wednesday, 66-31.

The Senate favored Kerry’s sense of the Senate amendment instead of much stronger language eyed by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Brownback also introduced a sense of the Senate amendment to the bill pressing the secretary of State to re-designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. That amendment failed, 54-43.