What: All Issues : War & Peace : A vote on passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) that would shift $515.5 million earmarked in the bill for the Bush administration's Missile Defense Program to nuclear nonproliferation programs and other homeland security and anti-terrorism activities. (2004 senate Roll Call 133)
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A vote on passage of a Democratic amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) that would shift $515.5 million earmarked in the bill for the Bush administration's Missile Defense Program to nuclear nonproliferation programs and other homeland security and anti-terrorism activities.
senate Roll Call 133     Jun 22, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

This amendment offered by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to the fiscal year 2005 Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400) sought to shift $515.5 million earmarked in the bill for the Missile Defense Agency's ground-based midcourse interceptors (missiles) to nuclear nonproliferation programs and other homeland security and anti-terrorism activities. It failed 44-56, with conservatives rallying to protect the Missile Defense Program (MDP) - one of President Bush's pet projects. The MDP feasibly would be used to shoot down nuclear warheads launched at the United States. Progressives have argued that the resources going into the MDP are being ill-spent, given that the threats the nation faces presently are more likely to be localized acts of terrorism and probably will include small "dirty" bombs, or perhaps biological agents that are distributed by hand and directed against specific cities or buildings. As such, reallocating money from the MDP to homeland defense and combating terrorism makes sense, progressives said. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) noted that Levin's amendment would shift funds "from extra, untested interceptor missiles to programs that will detect and stop the most urgent threat facing our country: the risk posed by terrorists with weapons of mass destruction." Said Biden, "Not only is that the most urgent threat, it is also a much more likely threat than the possibility that a rogue state, such as North Korea, will lob a missile at the United States and risk being annihilated by us." However, conservatives objected to the Levin amendment on the grounds that it would cut $515.5 million from the MDP, thus hurting its chances at becoming a viable weapon. Moreover, said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), "The half a billion dollars in funding taken away from MDP [in the Levin amendment] would be funneled into a variety of other programs, all of which are adequately funded," he asserted. "We have added funding to some of them, and in some cases we could not even spend the money that would be allocated," Kyl said. Defeat of the Levin amendment ensures the $515.5 million in question will not be used to combat more conventional terrorist threats, but instead will be put into purchasing more missiles for the as-yet untested MDP.

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