A U.S. Senate showdown is supposed to be in store over setting a deadline of 2003 to deploy a limited nationwide defense against ballistic missiles. But the timetable and impact of the debate remain uncertain, despite a staunch declaration last January by the new Senate Republican leadership that national missile defense (NMD) was one of its top 10 legislative priorities. Republican advocates, headed by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R.-Miss.), attach great urgency to ...

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