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Warner optimistic about military commissions bill compromise

[JURIST] US Senate Armed Services Committee [official website] Chairman John Warner (R-VA) [official website] expressed cautious optimism in a possible legislative compromise Tuesday after the White House sent to Capitol Hill new language for a military commissions [JURIST news archive] bill, commenting that he thought an accord would be reached soon. The White House version [PDF text, White House fact sheet] of the bill differs in key respects from a version [PDF text] proposed by Senators Warner, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) [official websites], which passed the Committee in a 15-9 vote [JURIST report] last week. It's understood that the new language relates to the definition of Geneva Convention prohibitions to be applied to US interrogators: the White House, stressing what it has called a need for "clarity", has backed narrower specific definitions, while the senators have supported broader language.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] also emphasized compromise in a Tuesday appearance [transcript], on NBC-TV's Today show, signaling a change in White House rhetoric after the House delayed plans for a floor vote on its version of the measure. On Monday, the Senate proposal appeared to have 52 votes of support behind it. AP has more.

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