The Senate rejected today, 57-42, an amendment, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), to the 2005 Defense Authorization bill that would have allowed deployment of the President's proposed missile defense system only after the mission related capabilities have been confirmed by realistic operational testing. Republican Olympia Snowe (ME) joined Democrats in voting for the amendment. Democrats Bayh (IN), Clinton (NY), Landreiu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Miller (GA), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE). Not voting was John Kerry (D-MA).
Shortly afterward, the Senate approved, 55-44, an amendment by Armed Services committee Chair John Warner (R-VA) to an amendment offered by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). The Warner amendment would "require the Secretary of Defense to prescribe and apply criteria for operationally realistic testing of fieldable prototypes developed under the ballistic missile defense spiral development program." Warner effectively undemined Reed's efforts to put testing under the supervision of Thomas Christie, Pentagon chief weapons tester. Clinton, Lieberman and Nelson (FL) changed course and voted against the Warner amendment. Here's the roll call.
The Warner amendment is window dressing. What happened today is simple: the Senate voted today to deploy a missile defense system that has never been tested. In a Senate hearing in March, the Pentagon's own Thomas Christie said it was uncertain whether the system would work against a North Korean missile threat. I have no idea how these people can claim they are "strong on defense."
Follow this and other key votes: notsoforeignpolicy.