Procedural vote likely ensures passage of homeland bill

The Senate this morning voted 65 to 29 to limit debate on HR 5005, a compromise version of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The procedural vote likely indicates that final passage of the compromise bill now is only a matter of time, sources said.

A spokesman for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) said scheduling a final vote on the compromise version of the bill and on the bill itself remains in the hands of Sen. Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), Senate majority leader.

Under Senate rules, the cloture vote limits debate on the substitute version of the bill to 30 hours. Foes of the bill could force a second cloture vote on the bill itself, which could extend the debate for an additional 30 hours, sources said. Sources said such a filibuster of the bill appears unlikely.

The House already has passed the compromise version of the bill, so when the Senate takes final action it will be ready for President Bush's approval, a Governmental Affairs Committee aide said.

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