Dem amendments on base closures, Navy cruisers tossed out

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The House Rules Committee late Tuesday rejected two amendments from Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) to the 2015 defense authorization bill.

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Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, sought to enact a new round of base closures in 2017 and allow the Navy to implement a plan to lay up and modernize 11 of its cruisers, but neither made the list of nearly 170 approved amendments.

He introduced both measures during the panel’s marathon 13-hour mark up of the defense policy bill, only to withdraw them and vow to resurrect both proposals when the time comes for floor debate on the bill. However, the moves by the Rules Committee have thrown cold water on those plans.

Smith did succeed in getting a trio of other amendments lined up for debate, including a provision that would lift the ban on transferring detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to U.S. soil.

Another amendment aims to eliminate “indefinite military detention” of people by the United States.

Smith is expected to discuss his approved measures, as well as those nixed by the Rules Committee, when the defense legislation hits the House floor on Wednesday afternoon.