When it comes to federal agencies, there are two types of bills that Congress considers. There are authorization bills that set policy goals and direct where monies are supposed to be spent, and appropriations bills that actually distribute the money. In the absence of the passage of an authorization bill, the agency appropriation legislation is used to serve these dual legislative responsibilities.
The House and the Senate have both passed the spending bill for fiscal year 2006 for the Department of Defense (DOD), HR 2863. The House has passed its Department of Defense authorization bill, HR 1815. The Senate has yet to pass its DOD authorization bill, S 1043.
It is to this last bill, S 1043, that Senator Durbin has proposed his Amendment #1379. The Durbin amendment would require manufacturers who sell dietary supplements on military bases, except for vitamins, to submit reports of adverse health reactions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, Amendment 1379 would also apply to nonmilitary sales of supplements to consumers.A hundred or so amendments have been filed for S 1043, including the Durbin amendment. Senate leaders from both parties, including Senator Durbin, the Assistant Minority Leader, are now in negotiations over what amendments will be considered and voted on individually, and what amendments could be considered “en bloc” and adopted by unanimous consent, without a full Senate vote.
We're keeping an eye on this amendment and will keep you informed.