UPDATE – Senate adopts hate crimes language, which leads us to … fighter jets

by on July 15, 2009  •  In Congress, Criminal law

UPDATE July 21: The Senate voted to drop the funding for F-22s from the bill. The legislation will now go to conference committee. If the conferees strip out the F-22 funds that are part of the House version and keep the addition of the hate crimes language, as seems likely. there will be clear skies for the bill to land on POTUS's desk and be signed.


UPDATE: By a 63-28 vote, the Senate invoked cloture, then voted to add the text of S 909 to the Defense Authorization bill. The next series of bumps will arise if $1.75 billion in funding for F-22s is not dropped from the bill. President Obama has declared that he will veto the bill if it includes "wasteful spending," which seems to be code for no more F22s. Even if there is a veto, however, advocates remain confident that the hate crimes language will eventually make it through.  More background here.


Senator Leahy has just introduced S 909 – the Mathew Shepard hate crimes bill – as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. As is customary in the Senate, sporadic debate will occur until a vote is held on the cloture petition, which – if it secures 60 votes in support – will set an end point (a maximum of 30 hours of debate) to the debate on the amendment. The cloture vote could happen as early as tomorrow. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is predicting that the vote on the substance will occur on Friday.

The same bill passed the House in April by a 249 to 175 vote (HR 1913).


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