Tuesday, December 12, 2023

HR 3224 Passes in House – CWMD Extension

Yesterday the House took up HR 3324, the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Extension Act of 2023, under the suspension of the rules process. After 20 minutes of debate a recorded vote was demanded. The bill passed by a vote of 394 to 0.

The bill would amend 6 USC 591(e) by changing the Office’s termination date (which is currently December 31st, 2023) to “seven years after the date of the enactment of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Extension Act of 2023”.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. During a markup hearing for S 1798, a bill which also extends the CWMD Office, but includes a major rewrite of 6 USC 591, the current authorization language, Sen Paul (R,KY) voted against approving that bill. I suspect that Paul would object to this bill’s consideration under the Senate’s unanimous consent process, which would effectively kill this bill.

Paul has a long legislative history of objecting to unanimous consent motions for consideration of legislation. While he often objects specifically to the bill in question, he more often attempts to use his objection as a tool to force the consideration of one of his pet amendments or bills. This has been a pain in the legislative process, but this year his power to block legislation has been expanded because he is the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. This allows him to block amendments to other bills if that amendment were subject to HSAGA oversight. This means, that even if the language for HR 3324 were offered as an amendment to the NDAA next year, it would not be considered in the Senate if he objected.

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