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Politico - 142 Defense Amendments in House

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By Jonathan Allen

Over the next couple of days, the House will vote on how much the military can spend on its bands, whether it can detain American citizens suspected of terrorism indefinitely, and if the U.S. will continue to give aid to Pakistan.

Those questions are among the 142 pending amendments to the defense authorization bill, which every year provides a sprawling and intense debate over the nation's values in matters of war and peace, caring for soldiers and veterans, and spending.

This is as good as it gets on C-SPAN.

The main event: An amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that would end the war in Afghanistan. House leaders have reserved 20 minutes for that debate - twice as long as any of the other amendments.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, want to repeal current law allowing the military to indefinitely detain American citizens within the United States - and without access to civilian courts -- if they are suspected of plotting terrorist attacks. Civil libertarians on the right and left have joined forces to back their amendment.

The House floor may also turn into a stage for a real-life version of the hazing debate made famous in the Broadway play and film "A Few Good Men."

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) would force each branch of the service to quickly transfer service members who were the victims of hazing; it's one of three hazing-related amendments due to get a vote.

There are matters of international consequence, such as Rep. Dana Roharabacher's effort to cut off funds for Pakistan, and of parochial concern, such as a joint effort by Wisconsin Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican, and Ron Kind, a Democrat, to allow Union soldier Alonzo Cushing, a Delafield native, to win the medal of honor for his actions at Gettysburg nearly 150 years ago.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) is renewing an old debate over detainee trials. His amendment would prohibit transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for trial.

Not everyone will have a chance to be heard on every issue.

The House Rules Committee decided against allowing Rep. Betty McCollum to offer an amendment prohibiting the military from slapping ads on scoreboards and uniforms at certain sporting events. But she will get a chance to debate her effort to hold spending on military bands to $200 million.


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