Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 1540 - The National Defense Authorization Act:
"One of the most important duties Congress is tasked with is laid out in Article 1, Section 8: to "provide for the common defense' of this nation. The National Defense Authorization Act contained numerous provisions I was pleased with, while at the same time contained provisions that caused serious concern. After much deliberation and review, I ultimately decided to support this legislation.
We must first and foremost provide the necessary resources for the brave men and women who sacrifice for us. This bill does that. We needed a clear definition of what it means to be an avowed terrorist - sworn to destroy our country. This bill does that. We must extend the prohibition on funds from transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. or a foreign country. This bill does that. This bill even contains a conscience clause protecting military chaplains who cannot, in good conscience, perform same sex marriage based on their moral principles. There is a lot to support in this bill.
However, I do remain concerned with the vague language prohibiting this legislation from being used against American citizens as written in Sections 1021 and 1022. This bill did not create the problem; however, it does not resolve it. That must be a bill that comes from the Judiciary Committee under House Rules. I have received a commitment from our leadership, including the Speaker himself, that we will fix this problem, after getting input from our best conservative Constitutional experts, with a separate bill. Since the NDAA bill did not create this problem, it was not necessary it be fixed here; but, the proper remedy will be carried out."
Important Provisions of H.R. 1540 considered by Rep. Gohmert in his decision to vote in favor of this legislation:
- Attempts to clarify the scope of terrorist detention authority already given to the President under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
- Specifically states that this terrorist detention authority does not "affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens . . . or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."
- This language regarding American citizens is a step in the right direction, but we must do more to clean up this language to further guarantee the protection of American citizens from indefinite detention. I have been given assurances from Leadership that we will work on cleaning up this language after the first of the year.
- In response to the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, the bill includes multiple provisions that will protect soldiers and civilian defense employees from retaliation for reporting violent Islamic extremist activity. In addition to Whistleblower protection language, the bill also requires the Secretary of Defense to produce guidelines to ensure that military and civilian law enforcement receive "Active Shooter Training."
- Continues to provide our military with the necessary resources to provide for our defense while maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility.
- Contains a conscience clause protecting military chaplains who do not want to perform same sex marriage based on conscience or moral principles.
- Reaffirms the Authorization for Use of Military Force for the President to authorize the military to detain terrorists in the war on terror.
- Extends the prohibition on funds from transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. or a foreign country.
- Authorizes additional domestic and regional missile defense systems to protect the U.S.
- Provides additional resources for U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs.
- Limit funds from going toward nuclear security in China until U.S. officials certify that China develops practices to improve proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.