Rand Paul explains NDAA vote

Rand Paul

Last year, the blogosphere lit up over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contained a provision that could be interpreted by courts to allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens. We covered this White House-backed provision extensively at the end of last year.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Adam Smith (D-WA) tried to push through an amendment earlier this year to fix the muddied language, but it was rejected.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the 2013 version of NDAA. This year’s version of the bill included an amendment, a bipartisan effort from Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Lee (R-UT), to clear up the language indefinition detention provision.

Unfortunately, there does seem to be some confusion about the the bill that ultimately passed. In a post today at his Facebook page, Sen. Paul, who voted for this year’s version of NDAA, sets the record straight:

I have noticed that many are confused by my vote for NDAA. Please allow me to explain.

First, we should be clear about what the bill is. NDAA is the yearly defense authorization bill. It’s primary function is to specify which programs can and can’t be funded within the Pentagon and throughout the military. It is not the bill that spends the money—that comes later in an appropriations bill.

Because I think we should spend less, I will offer amendments to cut spending. I will likely vote against the final spending bill. This wasn’t it.

This bill also isn’t about indefinite detention. This year’s bill did not contain the authorization for indefinite detention.

That provision was in last year’s NDAA bill.

The bill this year contained the amendment I supported which sharply limited the detention power, and eliminated it entirely for American citizens in the US. While it is only a partial victory, it was a big victory. Particularly compared to what passed last year. Even so, I will continue to fight to protect anyone who could possibly be indefinitely detained.

I would never vote for any bill, anywhere, that I believed enhanced the government’s power to abridge your rights and detain people. This goes against every principle I hold dear and the Constitution I took an oath to uphold and protect.

It may not be perfect, but the Feinstein-Lee amendment, which Paul vigorously supported, is a step in the right direction.

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