Yesterday, I wrote a diary about the vote on the Smith-Gibson amendment to the NDAA, which would have banned indefinite detention. Banning this practice is necessary to end the moral, economic, and constitutional atrocity of Guantanamo Bay Prison, in which 166 inmates are being held without trial at an annual cost of $900,000 per inmate. Over half of the inmates have been cleared for release but remain in a Kafkaesque state in which they are not permitted to leave. 103 of the inmates are currently on a hunger strike, and 41 of them are being force-fed in clear violation of medical ethics and international law.
Rep. Adam Smith proposed a set of amendments to close Guantanamo Bay prison. The first, which the House voted down yesterday 200 to 226, would have banned indefinite detention. The second amendment, co-sponsored by Jerry Nadler and Jim Moran, eases the restrictions on transferring prisoners for release and provides a framework to close the detention facility by December 31, 2014. The House Armed Services Committee Democrats described the plan as follows:
1. Enhances the authority of a senior official in the Pentagon (pursuant to Section 1037 of HR 1960, the FY14 NDAA), who will be appointed by the President, by granting the authority to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The underlying bill provides authority only to coordinate detainee transfers. This official must work with the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of State, and other interested Departments.This amendment, which received a vote earlier today, was rejected by a vote of 174 to 249. 172 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted in favor of the bill, and 228 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted against it.
2. All current limitations on the transfer of GTMO detainees in HR 1960 or existing statutes are removed. Sections 1032-34 of HR 1960, which ban the use of funds for the construction or modification of facilities in the United States for GTMO detainees, require certifications by the Secretary of Defense for transfer to foreign countries, and a ban on the transfer of GTMO detainees to the United States, are removed. Parallel restrictions in appropriations statutes and the current Continuing Resolution are also removed.
3. Strikes the request for $247 million for military construction at GTMO in Section 2901 of HR 1960.
4. Requires 30-day notice to Congress and a comprehensive report prior to any transfer of a GTMO detainee to a foreign country or to the United States for prosecution or continued law-of-war detention. The report includes an assessment by the Secretary of Defense and the intelligence community of security concerns about the individual. No transfer notice will be sent to Congress unless it is the consensus opinion of the military and intelligence communities that transfer of the detainee is appropriate.
5. Eliminates all funding for the GTMO detention facility by December 31, 2014.
6. Expedites requirements for a comprehensive plan from the President and the Department of Defense on how to close GTMO (within 60 days of enactment).
The two Republicans who voted in favor of the bill were Justin Amash (MI-03) and Jimmy Duncan (TN-02). Duncan voted against the Iraq War and, along with Ron Paul, was one of the only two Republicans to vote against funding the war in 2007. Amash is a committed civil libertarian.
Name and shame time: Who are the 21 Democrats that cried, "Long Live Guantanamo Bay Prison"?
First, of all, we have 10 of the 13 Democrats who voted against prohibiting indefinite detention:
John Barrow (GA-12) –Blue Dog
Henry Cuellar (TX-28) – Blue Dog
Pete Gallego (TX-23) – Blue Dog
Daniel Lipinski (IL-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18) – New Democrat
Jim Matheson (UT-02) – Blue Dog
Mike McIntyre (NC-07) –Blue Dog
Bill Owens (NY-21) – New Democrat
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) –Blue Dog
Filemon Vela (TX-34) – New Democrat
And then we have the other 11:
Ron Barber (AZ-02) – New Democrat
Bill Foster (IL-11) – New Democrat
Joe Garcia (FL-26) – New Democrat
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Dan Maffei (NY-24) – New Democrat
Patrick Murphy (FL-18) – New Democrat
Gary Peters (MI-14) – New Democrat; Vice Chair of DCCC’s Recruitment Committee; Michigan Senate candidate
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Brad Schneider (IL-10) – New Democrat
Krysten Sinema (AZ-09) – New Democrat
You might remember these names from a diary of mine a few days ago because they all voted to gut Dodd-Frank, too.
If you are from Michigan, I highly recommend trying to find a better Democrat than Gary Peters to run for Carl Levin's Senate seat when he retires next year.
Eleven representatives (Bachmann, Campbell, Chu, Edwards, Fudge, Kuster, Markey, Carolyn McCarthy, Neal, Poe, and Shea-Porter) were not there to vote. Those aside, all Democrats not listed above voted for the bill, and all Republicans not noted above voted against it.
The House also voted on an amendment by Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) that would prohibit using funds to transfer detainees to Yemen. 56 of the 86 detainees cleared for release are from Yemen. The House passed this amendment by a vote of 236 to 188. 225 Republicans and 11 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, and 183 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted against it.
The five Republicans who honorably broke party lines were the following:
Justin Amash (MI-03)
Joe Heck (NV-03)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
Thomas Massie (KY-04)
Four out of those five (all but Lamborn) voted yesterday to ban indefinite detention as well.
The 11 Democrats who shamefully crossed party lines were the following:
Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Daniel Lipinski (IL-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Jim Matheson (UT-02)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Gary Peters (MI-14)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Krysten Sinema (AZ-09)
Ten representatives were not there to vote (basically the same ones noted above). All other Democrats voted against the bill, and all other Republicans voted for it.
Feel free to call your representatives to express your thanks (if they voted YEA on Smith and NAY on Walorski) or displeasure/disgust (if they voted NAY on Smith and/or YEA on Walorski).
The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including the aforementioned ban on funding transfers to Yemen, passed the House 315 to 108. 212 Republicans and 103 Democrats voted for the NDAA, and 18 Republicans and 90 Democrats voted against it. I view all of those 103 Democrats as complicit, even if they voted against the Walorski amendment itself. If you look at the roll call vote, most progressive Democrats and libertarian-esque (economic, civil, or both) Republicans rightfully voted against the NDAA.