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Conyers Opposes Flawed Defense Bill; Applauds Inclusion of Amendment Rejecting Push for War with Iran


Location: Washington, DC

Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement following the adoption of the conference report for the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act by the House of Representatives. Representative Conyers was appointed by his House colleagues to serve on the bicameral conference committee, which reconciled the House and Senate versions of the annual defense authorization bill:

"While I appreciate the substantial improvements made by the conference committee to the highly flawed version of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, I opposed the final bill because of a number of counter-productive measures that were included in the conference report," said Conyers.

"Among other things, this bill still spends far too much money on unnecessary weapons systems and ineffective missile defense systems that the Pentagon neither needs nor wants. In this age of fiscal tightening, we cannot afford spending levels that are twice as large as our 2001 budget and 20 percent higher than the average Cold War budget. Promoting our security in the 21st Century will require a balanced approach that de-emphasizes traditional military power and instead focuses on diplomatic initiatives, international development, and robust engagement in international forums that build consensus and strengthen international law.

"I am very disappointed that Congress continues to prevent the President from using all the tools at his disposal to prosecute terrorists and ultimately close the disastrous detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The conference report also omits important language included in the Senate bill supporting an expedited troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and fails to correct the unconstitutional indefinite detention provision included in the 2012 NDAA.

"I am pleased that my fellow conferees agreed to adopt an amendment I authored with the support of my colleagues Ron Paul (R-TX), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Walter Jones (R-NC), which makes it crystal clear that this bill is not an authorization for war with Iran. By adopting this bipartisan amendment, Congress has rebuked those demanding a rush to war and strengthened the growing consensus in Washington that the only way to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon is through diplomacy and targeted pressure by the international community."

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