After staying up late, the House returns at 9:00 a.m. ET to finish up work on a supplemental funding bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure also contains an amendment overturning the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits homosexuals from openly serving in the military. Many Republicans say they will vote against the legislation for that reason. The bill also faces a veto threat from President Obama, who said he would send back any bill that provided funding for an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. The House voted against an amendment to eliminate the second engine by a vote of 231 to 193 Thursday night. We expect a vote on final passage to occur at some point Friday.
A vote on a so-called “extenders” bill is the next item on the docket for the House. The measure, which has been dramatically slashed from around $200 billion to approximately $60 billion, still needs to find a few more votes to pass. The Senate will not move on the measure before their Memorial Day recess, which has further dimmed the hopes of passage.
The Senate Armed Services Committee passed the Department of Defense Authorization Bill, which also contained a provision overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Thursday night. Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. ET to discuss the measure, which was debated and voted on in a closed session.
In other military matters, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., discusses his amicus brief filed on behalf of Al Snyder, the father of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who died in combat in Iraq in 2006. The Westboro Baptist Church picketed Snyder’s funeral with their trademark offensive signs and chants. Snyder’s father filed and won a civil suit against the church that was overturned on appeal. The Supreme Court will hear the case later this year.
It’s almost time for recess, but we won’t be looking at our watch. We’ll be too busy bringing you the latest as Congress tries to tie up their remaining loose ends.