Armed Services Dem Praises Hagel Vote

A Democratic member of the Senate Armed Services Committee is singing the praises of Tuesday’s vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. After a lengthy filibuster mounted against Hagel by his fellow Republicans, the Senate voted to confirm the former Nebraska senator to head up the Pentagon on a 58-41 vote. The filibuster of the Hagel nomination was the first filibuster of a defense secretary in U.S. history. Just a handful of Republicans joined all Democrats to vote in favor of Hagel. “Chuck Hagel is a man who valiantly defended our country in Vietnam and will bring proven leadership skills and a strong record of service to the Pentagon. I am pleased that the Senate confirmed his nomination … Continue reading

Mark Udall Continues His Push Against Indefinite Detention Policy

A key Democratic senator is actively continuing to try to defeat provisions in a defense bill which would allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens captured by the military, including those taken on U.S. soil. As a member of the conference committee tasked with hammering out differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado continues to press an influential proponent of the detentions policy to try to reach some compromise. At issue is legislation buried within the NDAA which would allow the U.S. military to capture and imprison civilians — without any charge or trial — including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including on U.S. soil. An annual … Continue reading

After Day Of Scrambling, Detention Policy Veto Still Looms

Fractured Senate Democrats worked Thursday to find compromise over language for legislation which ultimately could allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial. Their efforts, however, were limited at best, leaving the defense bill open to the very real threat of a rare presidential veto. The overall National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains a provision which opponents say could allow the unlimited detention of U.S. citizens by the military, both at home and abroad. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill over the issue of indefinite detention, which top members of his administration — including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — oppose. Others, particularly Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), have insisted on including the detention language in … Continue reading

Senate Pushes Obama Closer To Defense Veto

The Senate rejection of a ban on unlimited detention of U.S. citizens has brought a rare veto by President Obama much closer to reality. Senators voted down an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Wednesday which would have removed provisions of the pending overall defense authorization bill which allow the U.S. military to capture and imprison civilians — without any charge or trial — including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including on U.S. soil. The issue of infinite detention now goes to lawmakers who must hammer out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). An annual bill, the overall NDAA authorizes by law the government’s defense and national security activities. … Continue reading