Senate Passes Intelligence Authorization Bill; DOD Bill Not Sent to President Yet

Senate Passes Intelligence Authorization Bill; DOD Bill Not Sent to President Yet

On Friday, the Senate passed the FY2013 Intelligence Authorization bill, S. 3454, after adopting an amendment that replaces the original text of the bill.  Meanwhile, although the House and Senate passed the conference version of the FY2013 defense authorization bill over a week ago, the bill still has not been sent to the White House for the President’s signature.

The “amendment in the nature of a substitute” (SA 3441) to the Intelligence Authorization bill is published in the December 28, 2012 Congressional Record, beginning on page S8508, and a section-by-section analysis begins on page S8514.  The House passed its version of the bill, H.R. 5743, in May. The bill sets policy and recommends funding for the 17 offices and agencies that comprise the intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the bill as reported from her committee in July was “not without controversy” and in the intervening months “we have decided to remove ten of the twelve sections in the title of the original bill that addressed unauthorized disclosures of classified information so that we might ensure enactment this year of the important other provisions of the bill.”  The bill has a relatively short unclassified text and a classified annex.   Of the text that is publicly available, none of the provisions appears to have a direct impact on satellite programs.  Feinstein said that the new text reflects discussions with the House and inclusion of some of the provisions that were in the House bill, presumably setting the stage for the House to pass it as well.

As for the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310,  according to the Library of Congress’s Thomas website, the most recent action was on December 21 when the Senate notified the House that it passed the conference report.   The next step is for the bill to be presented to the President, which has not yet occurred per Thomas.  The House has met only in pro forma session since then.  It will meet in legislative session today (Sunday) so action may ensue.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) disagreed with detainee provisions in an earlier version of the bill and said it would recommend the President veto the bill.  The expectation is that those objections were resolved in the final version, but nothing is certain until the bill is actually signed into law.  Among its space-related provisions, the bill would ease export controls on satellites.

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