House NDAA Shows Progress on Repealing AUMF, Closing Guantanamo
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First is calling today’s vote on a House FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provision introduced to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) an encouraging sign that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working to rein in overbroad war authorities as construed in 2001. While an amendment introduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) to repeal the AUMF was not adopted as part of the final bill, it gained substantial support since its consideration last fall.
“Although it’s disappointing that the Schiff amendment didn’t pass, there was a strong bipartisan showing in the House today for the idea that an overbroad and amorphous authorization is the wrong way to underpin U.S. counterterrorism strategy,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala.
The House of Representatives also voted on an amendment to pave the path to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Though the House voted against an amendment proposed by Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) that would have helped shutter the detention facility, the final bill included fewer restrictions on transferring detainees than it has in past years.
“We came out of today’s floor debate with progress toward the ultimate goal of closing Guantanamo,” noted Wala. “There seems to be a bipartisan acknowledgement that Guantanamo has to be dealt with and that the detention facility should and will close one way or another.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee is completing the mark up their version of the NDAA today and is expected to finish tomorrow. Human Rights First urges the House and Senate to work together to remove all transfer restrictions from the NDAA. Press Secretary Jay Carney announced yesterday that the president intends to veto any legislation that requires him to keep the facility open.
The House also voted down a bipartisan and common sense amendment to ban indefinite detention in the United States. “Indefinite detention is unlawful and unnecessary and there’s no basis to hold people picked up in the United States without charge or trial. Today’s vote in the House was a disappointing failure to recognize that fact,” said Wala.