The House may take up the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill later this week, and C4L Members should take action TODAY to urge an open amendment process. If your representative sits on the rules committee, they especially need to hear from you immediately.
Representatives Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Mick Mulvaney, John Conyers, and Jared Polis have introduced an amendment that would strike funding for the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Between that and an amendment to cut off foreign
tributes "aid" to Syria and Egypt, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions announced last week that he was recommending the DOD Appropriations bill come to the floor under a modified closed rule that only allows limited amendments that House Leadership favors.
Traditionally, any amendment limiting or striking funds for any particular program was allowed to the floor under the "five minute rule," i.e. the Member had five minutes to introduce and make the case for the amendment. It was the one way for Members who were not in leadership or doing the bidding of leadership to get their voices and priorities heard. Congressman Paul and several of his close colleagues on the Hill often made use of the appropriations bills and their open rule to introduce amendments striking funds for war on Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc.
What this means is that House Leadership refuses to allow Members of Congress to perform their individual responsibilities to exercise oversight over any potentially controversial aspect of US foreign policy. In other words, Congress must forbid debate. Foreign aid to Egypt must not only continue, but continue without debate. The president's policy of arming radical jihadists in Syria could not be debated. NSA spying on Americans must not be debated.
He concluded, "Not since the time of the Soviet Union has a rubber stamp been wielded so nonchalantly by an iron fist."
The amendment leadership is most afraid of is in regards to the NSA. It reads,
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to collect tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls) pursuant to an order under section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861) if such things do not pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in such section.”
This common sense amendment to exercise oversight and restrain the NSA's domestic spying program deserves an up-or-down vote in the House.
If you agree, contact your representative immediately at 202-224-3121 and demand they urge the House Rules Committee and its Chairman Pete Sessions to allow an open amendment process for H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act.
Tags: NSA, thomas massie, Syria, Justin Amash, Egypt, Appropriations, Defense, DOD, Pete Sessions, Ron Paul Institute