Congress to Vote on Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills
As we went to press, the U.S. Senate had still not voted on the $491.6 billion fiscal year 2006 Defense Authorization bill because of the fight over Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) amendment specifying the treatment of prisoners of war. The Senate had earlier hoped to pass the bill before its Thanksgiving break but failed.
The White House had threatened to veto the Defense Authorization bill and the Defense Appropriations bill unless McCain's amendment was removed, but has since lightened its stance and is negotiating with McCain on changing the amendment's language. McCain, however, has said, "We have not made progress." Other senators have agreed with McCain on the lack of progress but Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) claimed on December 10 that he thought "an agreement will be reached."
McCain's amendment calls for banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners of war and making the U.S. Army's field manual the standard for all American interrogators no matter what their service or agency. McCain himself was tortured when he was a prisoner during the Vietnam War.
The U.S. House of Representatives has a similar budget bill, but without McCain's amendment. The Senate Armed Services Committee tentatively planned for the House to vote on its bill on December 14, with the Senate voting on its version the next day.
President Presents Plan for Victory. Calling for nothing less than complete victory, President George W. Bush addressed an audience of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., telling the nation that "by fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people."
The President went on to explain his administration's national strategy for victory in Iraq. As the President spoke, the White House released a 38-page report, covering the benefits of victory and the consequences of failure.
The President called for a continuance of isolating the enemy, clearing and holding areas, restoring and reforming Iraq's infrastructure and economy and building the country's security forces and national institutions. …