12/1/11 – As you may have seen in the news the Udall Amendment was defeated yesterday, mostly along partisan lines, though there was some commentary from the opposition about the unusual level of constituent email supporting the amendment. They noticed, but unsurprisingly they did not listen to the people. The Feinstein Amendment which was a last ditch effort to fix the language in the bill also failed today. The fight isn’t over. It’s still worth contacting both your Congressman and Senators to encourage them to support the removal of sections 1031 and 1032 in the reconciliation process. This is our last chance to fix the bill and protect our liberties short of hoping for a veto from President Obama. The letter-writing tool below has been modified to reflect the current situation. Even if you sent an email before it’s worth sending another now.
12/1/11 – Although the Paul and Udall Amendments failed yesterday, we have another chance to get indefinite military detention out of the UDAA. Two Amendments from Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) are still pending and will be voted on at 5pm today. They will edit the language of sections 1031 and 1032 to remove the possibility of indefinite military detention. They are a reasonable alternative to the Paul and Udall Amendments and Senators Paul, Udall and Mike Lee will be supporting them along with a growing coalition of other Senators. They are only a handful of votes short of passing these amendments, so if we could win over a few more Republican votes that might make all the difference. At the end of this article is an expanded list of Senators who you could call today before 2pm EST and encourage to vote for the Feinstein Amendments. Please take a few minutes to make the calls. It’s also still useful to email your Senators, especially if they are on the target list.
Here is video from Tuesday’s Senate debate where Sen. Ran Paul asks Sen. John McCain directly about the detention issue and gets a non-answer, with a craven appeal to public opinion, which amounts to an admission that McCain intended the bill to provide for military detention of civilians
11/29/11 – Although this bill was scheduled for a vote on Monday, deliberations were put off until today, so you still have time to contact your Senators. Additional info for calling key Senators is included bwlow. In addition, Senator Paul will be speaking about the bill at 10:55 EST on the floor of the Senate. You can watch the speech on CSPAN2 if their schedule is correct. It can also be watched online.
If the new Defense Authorization bill passes then the military will be able to arrest US Citizens within the United States and hold them indefinitely without charge or trial in military prisons or try them before military tribunals without the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
With very little notice and a vote which may come as early as TODAY (Monday) the U.S. Senate will vote on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) which was written and passed through committee in secret. It includes two sections which would change laws on military detention to authorize the military to imprison almost anyone without due process of law or any respect for their civil liberties, including Americans in foreign countries and those living in the United States. Those detained by the military under this law could be held indefinitely without charge or trial and they could end up in military courts instead of civilian courts.
The NDAA is almost certain to pass with strong bipartisan support. We don’t have the votes to stop it, though some RLC endorsees like Sen. Rand Paul oppose many sections of the bill. It is likely that it will hit the Senate floor in the next few days with the backing of powerful Republicans like John McCain, who authored this unconstitutional expansion of military authority, who will be pushing to pass it without revision.
You may think that this sort of insane legislation which totally undermines our Constitutionally protected rights can’t be real. You may find it hard to believe that most Republicans are supporting it. You may not think this could happen in your America. Yet this outrage is entirely real.
I urge you to read the contents of S.1867 (PDF), particularly sections 1031 and 1032, and see for yourself
While the RLC also objects to other aspects of this bill, we probably can’t stop the bill from passing, but there is at least a way to oppose these particularly horrendous provisions and get them removed from the bill. Senator Rand Paul has offered an amendment (#1067) to strike the two sections from the bill and Senator Mark Udall has put out a similar amendment (#1107). The Senate needs to pass one of these amendments and protect our rights.
Please urge your Senators to protect our rights and the Constitution and oppose sections 1031 and 1032 of the Defense Authorization bill by voting for the Udall Amendment. Act now. The vote may come as early as Monday.
You can do this by using the form below to send them an email today. We encourage you to customize the text to express your personal concern and outrage.
In addition, there are several Senators who we believe ought to be targeted for direct phonecalls from voters nationwide because they are likely swing votes. Please take time to call them at the numbers below. Just say that you’d like them to oppose military detention in sections 1031 and 1032 of the defense bill.
Pat Toomey (RLC-PA) – (202) 224-4254
Jim DeMint (RLC-SC) – (202) 224-6121
Ron Johnson (R-WI) – (202) 224-5323
Marco Rubio (R-FL) – (202) 224-3041
Olympia Snowe (R-ME) – (202) 224-5344
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – (202) 224-6665
Dean Heller (R-NV) – (202) 224-6244
Dick Lugar (R-IN) – (202) 224-4814