Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) submitted five amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014. Lee offered amendments ranging from ending the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to further disclosure and debate surrounding the lethal use of drones.
First, Lee offered a sunset of the AUMF, which sets a date for repeal at the end of the war in Afghanistan. Congresswoman Lee said, "This overly-broad blank check that gives unlimited authority to any president to wage war at any time. As the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF after the horrific events of September 11th, I remain deeply concerned about this unchecked power. The AUMF has catapulted our country into a state of perpetual war that must come to an end."
On the amendment surrounding a report to Congress on the use of lethal drones, Rep. Lee said, "It is far past time that the White House openly discuss the drones program. I have grave concerns over the lethal use of drone strikes and the current lack of Congressional involvement and oversight. For the integrity of our Constitution, we must ensure that we have full accountability and sufficient transparency in our nation's war powers, and I will continue to fight for full accountability on this issue."
Congresswoman Lee also called for a full report on the status military laws and policies impacting service members who are living with or at risk of contracting HIV. "Modernizing laws when it comes our military is essential, and the laws that dictate the lives of our service members should reflect contemporary understanding of the science of HIV," said Congresswoman Lee.
Also included in Rep. Lee's amendments are two pieces surrounding spending by the Defense Department. The first calls for a 1% reduction in base Defense Department Budget, the second calls for a full audit of the Pentagon. Lee said, "The Department of Defense's refusal to provide an audit is a recipe for financial disaster. As the daughter of a veteran, I grew up believing in the power and patriotism of the U.S. military, but being patriotic does not mean blindly accepting bloated Pentagon spending; we need to turn the billions of waste, fraud, and abuse into investments in job creation."