2013 Military Authorization: Amendments to Watch

Last updated: May 18, 12:45 PM

On May 18, the House voted 299-120 for the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310). This is often the most important bill on foreign and military policy that gets passed each year, partly because of the numerous amendments that get proposed and included.

FCNL does not support the authorization of military funds. However, we support amendments by bipartisan congressional allies to cut the military budget, end the war in Afghanistan, prevent war with Iran and reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

Bill text and the full list of amendments can be found here.

The below list has been updated to indicate which amendments have been ruled in order by the House Rules Committee and of those ruled in order, how they fared on the House floor.

Afghanistan

(Out of Order) Amendment No. 101: Rep. Jim McGovern (MA) and Rep. Walter Jones (NC) planned to offer an amendment that would require the U.S. to expedite transition plans, end combat operations no later than December 2013 and ensure there is limited or no U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after December 2014. The amendment would have also struck and replaced troubling language in section 1216 (for more information on section 1216, see Matt Southworth's analysis here). 

Note: in 2011, a similar amendment recieved 204 affirmative votes. See how your member voted here.

(Failed 113-303) Amendment No. 158: Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) offered an amendment that would fund a safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces and contractors from Afghanistan. The amendment was similar to H.R. 780.
How did your representative vote?

Amendment withdrawn: Amendment No. 155: Rep. Adam Smith (WA), Rep. John Garamendi (CA) and Rep. Chris Gibson (NY) would have offered an amendment to strike and replace language in section 1216 of the NDAA. The amendment expressed the need for an "expedited withdrawal" from Afghanistan, but formally authorizes Counter Terrorism (CT) operations--a dangerous and unnecessary precedent. Rep. Smith withdrew this amendment and shifted support to Amendment No. 101 (McGovern/Jones).

Iran

(Passed en bloc/without roll call vote) Amendment No. 95: Rep. John Conyers (MI) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX) offered a bipartisan amendment stating that “nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.”

(Failed 77-344) Amendment No. 161: Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) and Rep. John Conyers (MI) offered an amendment that would appoint a Special Envoy for Iran to ensure that all diplomatic avenues are pursued to avoid a war with Iran and to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
How did your representative vote?

(Passed en bloc/without roll call vote) Amendment No. 133: Rep. Michael Conaway (TX) offered a dangerous pro-war amendment which would require the administration to prepare extraordinarily detailed contingency plans for an attack on Iran and put further pressure on the administration to support an Israeli attack on Iran. It also seeks to increase U.S. and Israeli military presence in the Mideast.

Note: Tell Congress not to authorize war with Iran and see Kate Gould's analysis for more.

Military Spending

(Failed 170-252) Amendment No. 42 Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) offered an amendment to limit funding for the Department of Defense to a cap set by the Budget Control Act, reducing the top line number by $8 billion.
How did your representative vote?

Military Detainees

(Failed 182-238) Amendment No. 151: Rep. Adam Smith (WA) and Rep. Justin Amash (MI) offered an amendment ending mandatory military detention for terror suspects arrested and detained in the U.S. Instead, anyone arrested under the AUMF would have the right to a civilian trial in a regular (Article III) court of law. See a brief description of the amendment, with language and FCNL’s letter.
How did your representative vote?

Nuclear Weapons

(Failed 112-308) Amendment No. 11: Reps. Markey (MA), Welch (VT) and Conyers (MI) offered an amendment to delay the development of the new, long-range, nuclear-capable bomber by 10 years and delete $292 million in spending for FY 2013. Delaying the new bomber would save $18 billion over 10 years and still allow the Pentagon to deploy the same number of bombers as planned under New START.
How did your representative vote?

(Passed 238-162) Amendment No. 59: Reps. Rehberg (MT) and Lummis (WY) offered an amendment that would add an unnecessary provision to the NDAA to undermine the U.S. ability to implement the 2010 New START Treaty. The amendment would impose a one-for-one reduction implementation process that is impractical and militarily unnecessary.
How did your representative vote?

(Out of Order) Amendment No. 67: Rep. Ed Markey (MA) planned to offer an amendment to defund a new nuclear bomb plant in New Mexico. The Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility would increase the U.S. capacity to produce nuclear weapons and would cost taxpayers around $5.8 billion.

(Out of Order) Amendment No. 165: Rep. Jared Polis (CO) planned to offer an amendment to return funding levels for nuclear weapons activities to the administration’s request. Savings resulting from the amendment would be directed to deficit reduction.

(Out of Order) Amendment No. 130: Rep. John Garamendi (CA) planned to offer an amendment to defund a new missile defense site on the East Coast. The planned site would cost up to $5 billion and uses technology that has failed multiple tests.

Note: for more information on these amendments read our action alert here.

Drones

(Failed by voice vote) Amendment No. 124: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Rep. John Conyers (MI) offered an amendment that would prohibit drone strikes on unidentified targets.

Read the full bill without amendments here.


We need your help to stop the bad amendments and push forward on the good ones. Call the Capitol Hill switchboard toll-free at 877-429-0678, ask for your member of Congress by name and let them know how you feel about some of the amendments that will be proposed.

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