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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I share with the author of this amendment the goal of clarifying and strengthening the time-honored writ of habeas corpus for all American citizens. But my concern is that sometimes by omission we limit people's rights.

This amendment is very carefully, but narrowly, drawn in such a way it begs questions about the exclusion of those outside the ambit of this amendment and their rights. The gentleman, I know in good faith, is trying to promulgate an amendment that broadens the right of the writ of habeas corpus. But I think when compared with the Smith-Gibson language that this modifies, that it raises by omission an intention of the Congress to narrow the right of habeas corpus. So although it is not the gentleman's intent, I believe it is the effect of this amendment.

Those who believe that the right of habeas should be strengthened and broadened, I believe should oppose this amendment and support the underlying language as I, in fact, do.

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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I think virtually everyone on our side of the aisle in this Chamber would agree that if the President wants to submit a treaty, he has to follow the Constitution to get it approved. I think all of us should agree that if the President wants to implement a so-called executive agreement not subject to treaty confirmation that we should vigorously exercise our power of the purse and our oversight authority to make sure that that's in the best interest of the American people, and if it's not, we shouldn't fund it, as the Constitution gives us the prerogative.

The problem with this amendment is, if it's said that we call on the President to give us complete information about what's going on between us and Russia, I would vote for it; but I can't vote for an amendment that has findings that are hearsay at best and inaccurate at worst.

But the word ``finding'' in the operation of this institution implies that there's been a sober, thorough, and factual inquiry as to what's gone on. These findings are pure hearsay. They say that certain Members have read newspaper articles. Well, that's interesting, but that's not a finding. It then characterizes--characterizes--the President as trading away for the prospect of nuclear arms reductions certain weapons system or defense systems. And I would really ask anyone on the other side if they could cite to us any instance where the President has, in fact, made an agreement where he has traded away any defense system to the Russians or anyone else. I don't think they can.

The right vote on this is ``no.'' We should exercise oversight. We should not engage in science fiction.

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