- WWII vet en route to Pearl Harbor event booted from flight
- SWAT team at Phoenix hospital as armed man clears emergency room
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle dragged from political meeting, booted from party
- Big storm dumps snow on East Coast, travel dicey
- Thai prime minister dissolves Parliament, calls elections
- Hagel to meet with Pakistan’s prime minister
- Kiev: Riot police deployed near protest sites
- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
Defense policy deal picks fight with Obama; bill stops Gitmo transfers
Congress is daring President Obama to veto the annual defense policy bill after negotiators struck a deal Tuesday that would continue to prohibit him from transferring suspected terrorist detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for another year.
The bill also imposes sanctions on Iran’s energy and shipping industries, creates cybersecurity reporting requirements for defense contractors, calls for a 1.7 percent pay raise for the troops, and trims back the administration’s request for service members and veterans to pay higher health care fees.
Under the compromise bill hammered out by House and Senate negotiators, the Defense Department also would begin paying for abortions for troops or their families in cases of rape or incest. Current law limits payment to cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
But it’s the terrorist detention provisions that are likely to spark the biggest fight with the White House where Mr. Obama, after repeatedly accepting restrictions, drew a line this year, saying he was tired of Congress tying his hands.
Negotiators from the House and Senate armed services committees emerged from closed-door meetings Tuesday, where they hammered out the compromise bill, to say they hoped the president would accept their deal.
“The president has to weigh their objection to a one-year reauthorization of existing law with all the other aspects of a defense authorization,” said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The bill will be on the House floor for a vote Thursday then head to the Senate. It is considered one of the few must-pass pieces of legislation Congress tackles every year, and it regularly produces a series of battles between the two parties and between Congress and the White House, which jealously guards the president’s role as commander in chief.
One of those fights this year is over whether the military can detain someone apprehended in the U.S. indefinitely and without charge or trial.
Last year’s version seemed to grant the administration the right to indefinitely detain even U.S. citizens apprehended here if they are deemed to be fighting the U.S. as part of the war on terrorism, and a number of lawmakers in both parties had hoped to clear that up in this year’s bill.
The negotiators agreed on a statement that reaffirms everyone in the U.S. has habeas corpus rights in federal courts.
“Habeas is not the same thing as saying you have a right to only be imprisoned if you’re charged with a crime,” he said.
“I think it’s better than last year,” he said. “Last year’s bill suggested there were circumstances under which the executive branch could indefinitely detain persons, including persons seized on American soil. A lot of us felt that was inappropriate.”
He said he reads the new language to reassert Fifth Amendment due process protections, and said that could even apply to American citizens captured overseas.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Wind farms: Interior Department sacrifices eagle protection for alternative energy
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bipartisan House votes against 'patent trolls' who file lawsuits against innovators
- Bipartisan House votes to stop patent 'trolls'
Latest Blog Entries
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- EDITORIAL: Health care hardball
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- FENNO: Mike Shanahan's empty words no salve to free-falling Redskins
- POWELL: The Fed's scandalous monetary policy
- As the unemployed wait, lawmakers debate about extended benefits
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!