Blog of Rights

House Will Debate Worldwide War Amendment Tonight

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:54pm

Late yesterday afternoon, we got the great news that the White House has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill that the House of Representatives is debating and voting on this week, if it includes a new law for worldwide war without end, or any of the bad Guantánamo detention and limitation of prosecution provisions that Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, slipped into the bill.

And last night, a truly bipartisan group of House members proposed a legislative solution to this veto threat. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who editorialized in the Detroit News last week against the worldwide authorization of use of military force, has introduced Amendment 50, which would strike that provision from the NDAA. Cosponsors are Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

Many amendments will only get 10 minutes of debate today. Amendment 50 will likely be debated tonight, and votes on the amendments will happen Thursday morning. As soon as the vote happens, check this space to see how your representative voted.

Another amendment to watch is Amendment 43, sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) which would block all federal criminal trials of suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. As we've pointed out repeatedly, the federal courts are the fairest and most effective forum for prosecuting terrorism suspects. We oppose this amendment.

A vote on the entire NDAA is likely to be Thursday afternoon. If you haven't already contacted your member of Congress, it isn't too late: tell them to oppose a worldwide war without end.

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