MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - September 27, 2006)
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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, everyone who has spoken in this debate on both sides I think shares a deeply held conviction that they want terrorists who would threaten this country prosecuted, convicted and punished.
Because I believe the commencement of those prosecutions is imperative for the future of the country, I will support this bill. I will do so, however, with two severe reservations which I would hope would be dealt with by the other body and in conference.
The first has to do with the issue of habeas corpus, which is a complicated word, but in this context, here is what it means: As I read this bill there is a risk that a suspected terrorist could be held for an indefinite period of time without recourse to any decisionmaker outside of the executive branch.
The constitutionally of this is ambiguous. But the wisdom of it I think is clear. It is not very wise. I think revisiting this provision as the bill goes forward would assure the constitutionality of the bill and its compliance with the Geneva Conventions.
Secondly, I am concerned about the fact that there has been an insufficient procedure for us to consider this bill. There have been many good ideas dealing with habeas corpus, dealing with issues of retroactive immunity that I think deserve a full and fair airing and hearing on this floor. This is an unfortunate procedure in which we find ourselves.
My concern is it will be our sole opportunity, given the way things go around here, to voice our opinions on this. I do think that the underlying provisions of this bill are consistent with the spirit and letter of our obligations under the Geneva Conventions.
I have concluded that compliance with these conventions is essential so we can go forward in prosecuting and trying those who threaten our country. I believe this process needs great improvement. I think this bill needs one very specific improvement. But to move it forward, I will vote ``yes.''
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