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Public Statements

Conference Report H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, on September 18, 2001, 7 days after the worst attack in American history, the authorized use of military force was passed. And I've come to understand how legislation can be hurriedly thrown together, and it was. We were in a crisis.

In those days I was a judge. When I got to Congress and the NDAA came up to extend, reauthorize the AUMF, this issue of whether American citizens
were protected came up. Some mistakenly thought the NDAA did some granting of power to the President that he shouldn't have, but actually it was in the original AUMF. It said the President could basically go after any nation, organization, or person that he thought was a threat or may have participated. That needed to be reined in.

I've worked with some of my colleagues, with professors, with legal experts. Even though one professor went to Harvard, they've been immensely helpful, and we've crafted language. And I even appreciate Senator Levin working with us and Chairman McKeon being willing to look at these different issues.

Our original amendment included a 30-day requirement. Within 30 days there had to be a writ of habeas corpus hearing. Yet we got criticized, saying you're restricting to only 30 days, so we took that out.

The language in here, as Mr. Nadler pointed out, does not protect American citizens in foreign countries. That will have to be done another day. But it does go beyond what I originally wanted to do and protects people that are in the United States, if they are authorized under our Constitution to have those protections.

I am grateful that these things have been done. I'm grateful this language is in there to restrict the President's power back to what I think was appropriate under the Constitution. I will be voting for the NDAA and appreciate the chairman's indulgence in my push to get this done.

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