The Senate was scheduled to start debate this week on its version of a defense authorization bill, several months after the House passed its version of the legislation. However, it looks like that won’t happen, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blaming Republicans for slowing the process, even after agreeing to an “open” amendment process. It’s also being delayed by a filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who wants a vote on an amendment he’s proposing, which makes it likely consideration of the bill will be delayed until after the Senate returns from its Thanksgiving recess on November 26.
The bill is being closely watched by some in the space industry since it is a potential vehicle for export control reform. The current Senate version contains no language regarding such reform (there is a separate, standalone bill introduced in May by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)), but the House version does contain a provision returning to the President the ability to remove commercial satellites and related components off the US Munitions List. There are debates between the administration and Congress about the language in the House bill, but those arguments are moot if the Senate does not pass its version of the legislation.