What: All Issues : War & Peace : A vote on passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization bill (S. 2400) placing a condition that the Defense Department can only acquire the next set of missiles for its Missile Defense Program after operational testing on the system is completed or at least initiated. (2004 senate Roll Call 139)
 Who: All Members : New York : Schumer, Chuck
[POW!]
 
A vote on passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization bill (S. 2400) placing a condition that the Defense Department can only acquire the next set of missiles for its Missile Defense Program after operational testing on the system is completed or at least initiated.
senate Roll Call 139     Jun 23, 2004
Member's Vote
(progressive
or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This amendment offered by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization bill (S. 2400), would place a condition that the Defense Department could only acquire the next set of interceptors (missiles) - pegged at $550.5 million -- for use in a national missile defense system after operational testing on the system is completed or at least initiated. The Missile Defense Program is designed to protect the nation from a long-range missile attack, by using U.S. "interceptor" missiles to shoot down an enemy's nuclear missile bound for the United States. Simply put, Reed's amendment would prohibit expenditure of fiscal year 2005 funds for these ground-based missiles until initial operational test and evaluation is completed. DOD already has acquired missiles 1 through 20. The next in the series are missiles 21 through 30. Reed's amendment was defeated 45-53, meaning that under the Senate bill, the Defense Department can acquire missiles 21 through 30 even before showing that the national missile defense system works and that the system is effective and suitable for combat. As such, the department will continue to pursue what Reed called the "unwise acquisition" of another 10 missiles. Progressives sided with Reed, noting that while bits and pieces of the Missile Defense Program have been tested, it is "premature" to go ahead now and ramp up production of these missiles. Said Reed, "If we have not tested the system adequately, if we are planning for years now to have a 20-interceptor structure of our missiles, why are we rushing ahead now and buying additional missiles? My amendment says, at least before we get to this point of buying the additional missiles, we should be in the area of planning and carrying out realistic operational testing." Conservatives, however, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) called Reed's amendment too "demanding because ... it would restrict the ability to acquire additional missile defense interceptors until such testing is completed," Sessions said. Sessions added that "the kind of testing [Reed] is proposing is premature and not helpful to that effort." Indeed, conservatives argued that Reed's amendment would do "serious harm" to the nation's ability to defend itself from long-range missile threats.

Y Y L
Issue Areas:
Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss