UPDATED: What happened with the NDAA?
Here at C4L, we've been getting a wide range of questions from our members about what happened in the Senate during the fight over S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and what the current status of the bill is.
Legislative battles are often fast-paced fights where details are changing minute-to-minute. Unfortunately, the internet doesn't always help clear things up because many political reporters who think they have a grasp of what is occurring, don't, and they unintentionally mislead people. To help clear things up, we'll start with the most recent, and work our way back, then finish up with where the bill is now.
To begin, the Senate passed the NDAA on Thursday Dec. 1, by a vote of 93-7. This is not the end of the fight. The House passed a different version, H.R. 1540, near the end of May. Both versions will now end up in a joint House/Senate conference where differences will be hammered out, but more on that at the end.
On Friday, Dec. 2nd, C4L's Vice President, Matt Hawes sent around an email describing an amendment to S. 1867 that would have allowed the military to keep an individual locked up even after they had been tried and found NOT GUILTY until after the conclusion of the "War on Terror." Senator Paul helped defeat the amendment, S.A. 1274, by a vote of 41-59, just by calling for a roll call vote on Thursday night.
What you won't see from looking at the roll call vote on S.A. 1274, is that Senators Carl Levin, John McCain, and members of both parties had agreed to allow the amendment to pass by voice vote, but when forced to record Yea or Nay next to their name, the majority voted against it.
Next, we move back to last Thursday afternoons vote on Senate Amendments (S.A.) 1125 & 1126. Campaign for Liberty urged a "YES" vote on both of these amendments.
S.A. 1125 would have clarified that military requirement to detain individuals only applies to those captured overseas by adding the word "abroad" after "captured" in Section 1032 of S. 1867. This amendment failed by a vote of 45-55.
S.A. 1126 would have amended Section 1031 of S. 1867 to clearly state that the authority to detain individuals does not confer any authority of the military to detain American citizens without trial until the end of hostilities. This amendment also failed by a vote of 45-55.
Now, it's important to make something very clear here. We've received a number of messages from well-intentioned folks who contacted us saying something like, "But, Section 1032 already says it doesn't apply to U.S. Citizens, you're making a fight where there isn't one and really just being used as pawns in the ACLU's liberal agenda…"
I cannot stress this enough (nor can I express how many times I responded to it by email, phone, and private message) — don't be fooled by Section 1032, Subsection (b) on "Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens."
Despite what a straight-forward reading of the text would appear to say, that the "requirement to detain a person" does not apply to U.S. Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens this is just cleverly worded political-speak to deceive the American people. Just because they aren't "required" doesn't mean they aren't allowed.
With all that cleared up (hopefully clear as glass rather than mud) let's look at where we're at now.
The National Defense Authorization Act, (H.R. 1540/S. 1867) is now in a conference committee squaring the differences between the House and the Senate version. The House passed a motion that allows them to hold the meetings for this important conference committee behind closed doors. Arguments pertaining to something as important as overturning the Posse Comitatus Act and Habeus Corpus deserve to be heard in a public forum.
Click here to see a list of House & Senate Conferees. If your representative or senator is one of those listed, please contact them immediately at 202-224-3121 and urge them not to sign the conference report unless the language of Sec. 1031 & 1032 is removed or modified to explicitly exclude all U.S. Citizens and lawful resident aliens.
A vote on the conference report could come as early as this Thursday in the House of Representatives. It is imperative you contact your representative and both of your senators today to urge them to vote no on the NDAA Conference Report unless Sec. 1031 & 1032 are removed or the offending sections are modified in such a way as to prohibit the application to U.S. Citizens and lawful resident aliens.