Senate to Take up DOD Authorization Next Week; Add Immigration Reform

Senate to Take up DOD Authorization Next Week; Add Immigration Reform

Despite earlier pessimism about the chances of the Senate bringing up the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill (S. 3454), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has decided not only to take it to the floor, but to add immigration reform.

An attempt to reach unanimous consent to bring the bill to the floor failed in early August when Senator John McCain (R-AZ), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, objected because it potentially would repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Last week, Congress Daily called the chances of the Senate passing the bill “murky.”

Nonetheless, Sen. Reid indicated early this week that he would try to bring up the bill for debate and surprised many by announcing that he planned to tack an immigration reform bill, the DREAM Act, on to the DOD bill. Today’s Congress Daily (subscription required) says that Republicans oppose the idea because immigration is not germane to national defense, but Sen. Reid reportedly said that it is germane because the DREAM Act could affect military recruitment by allowing young adult illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors to become citizens.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on Tuesday on whether to proceed with debate on the bill.

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