House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013:
"Each year, Congress has a duty to review and authorize defense programs that keep Americans safe and our troops supplied for their missions. This has traditionally been an area where Democrats and Republicans have come together, and I have consistently supported this important bill. I continue that support today, though I am disappointed that this year's authorization bill includes several troubling Republican provisions.
"First, Republicans set spending authorizations far above the level that both parties agreed to as part of the Budget Control Act last August, making it even more difficult to reach the big and balanced deficit reduction plan this country needs. Second, a bipartisan amendment to reaffirm our support for troops in Afghanistan with a carefully conceived exit strategy was not allowed a vote on the Floor, in spite of Speaker Boehner's past insistence on an open process. Third, this bill contains a Republican amendment that would permit American citizens to be detained indefinitely without due process, which runs contrary to the judicial values enshrined in our Constitution. And fourth, another Republican amendment was adopted that would roll back workers' hard-won rights to bargain collectively when working on federally funded construction projects.
"While it is disappointing that Republicans insisted on including all of these measures in the defense authorization bill, I remain unwavering in my support for the men and women of our Armed Forces as well as in my determination to provide them with every tool they need to be successful. I hope that once the Senate has considered its own version, a final version will be voted on in the House that removes these unfortunate provisions and more adequately reflects the bipartisan defense authorization bills we've passed in previous years."