The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House a vote of 299 – 110. It passed without the bipartisan amendment that was proposed by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) which would have prohibited indefinite detention without due process . It failed by a vote of 243 – 173. House Republicans piled on the fear factor with accusations that the amendment and its supporters were “soft on terrorist”. Adam Serwer recounts in his article in Mother Jones how Smith and Amash were accused of having “[collaborated on a nefarious plot to undermine national security”:
“Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) accused the lawmakers of wanting to “coddle terrorists,” while Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) warned that under an amendment they’d introduced, “as soon as a member of Al Qaeda sets foot on US soil, they hear you have the right to remain silent.” National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who has never heard of a same-sex marriage supporting, pro-financial regulation liberal who wasn’t secretly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote that their proposal was the result of “libertarian extremists” teaming up with liberals with an “obsession” with giving “more rights” to “mass murderers.” ”
We now know that there are 231 paranoid delusion Republicans in the House that no longer believe in the rule of law or the Constitution of the United States:
“As Smith pointed out during yesterday’s floor debate, the Fifth Amendment says no “person” shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law. It doesn’t say “citizen,” and the text of the Constitution uses both words enough that it’s clear the framers understood the difference. “Your beef is with James Madison,” Smith told Thornberry on Thursday. So keep in mind, when Republicans like Rooney say that Smith and Amash want to “coddle terrorists,” they’re not necessarily talking about some heavily armed Al Qaeda fighter in Kandahar. They’re potentially talking about you.”
Besides passing without the Smith/Amash amendment, the $642 billion bill breaks a deficit-cutting deal with President Barack Obama and restricts his authority in an election-year challenge to the Democratic commander in chief. The bill also calls for construction of a missile defense site on the East Coast that the military opposes, and bars reductions in the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Against the request of the Chamber of Commerce and business community, strong GOP allies, the Republicans passed an amendment limiting funds for institutions or organizations established by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea:
“The chamber supports Senate ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty “because it would provide clear legal rights and protections to American businesses to transit, lay undersea cables, and take advantage of the vast natural resources in and under the oceans off the U.S. coasts and around the world,” executive vice president R. Bruce Josten said in a statement. He noted that the Defense Department supports the treaty.
Tea party Republicans and other conservatives have expressed concerns about the treaty impinging on U.S. sovereignty.”
President Obama has threatened to veto this bill, not for the lack of the restriction on indefinite detention but mainly because of restrictions on the implementation of the New START treaty; limits on reductions for the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal; and new restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees. Moreover, the White House objected to the overall size of the bill, which surpasses President Obama’s request by $3.7 billion and exceeds the Budget Control Act spending caps by $8 billion. I’ll believe that when it happens.