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McConnell Urges Senate Consideration of Defense Authorization, Debate on Detainees


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Wednesday regarding the need to debate the Defense Authorization Act in the Senate:

"On another matter, it has come to my attention that the Majority Leader has written to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee asking them to modify the committee reported National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 before he will allow the Senate to consider that bill.

"The White House has made clear that it objects to certain provisions dealing with the detention of unlawful enemy combatants and captured members of Al Qaeda and associate groups. As the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee explained to the Senate, the Committee voted in favor of the provisions overwhelmingly.

"My request to the Majority Leader would be to move to the National Defense Authorization Act at the soonest possible moment to allow the Senate to debate and amend the bill. If there are members on the other side who support the White House effort to bring unlawful enemy combatants into the United States for purposes of detention and civilian trial, the Senate can debate that matter during consideration of the bill. I know that many members on my side would very much appreciate a debate on the importance of keeping detainees currently held at Guantanamo from returning to the battlefield, especially in places like Yemen.

"Once the Senate completes consideration of the Defense Authorization Act it could then move to consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, another measure that I assume would be subject to debate and amendment."

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