Latest on National Defense Authorization Act Amendments

The list of amendments that will be introduced for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act is not yet finalized or complete, so we will be updating this blog as more information comes out of Congress. The issue is expected to be taken up on the floor Wednesday. We encourage you to make your call as soon as possible, but if you plan to call later, please check back here before doing so.


[update by MI Thursday 2:29 pm ET: The votes are in on the three key amendments we've been following. Here are the results with vote counts:

Conyers (Amdt #35): PASSED. 416 yeas, 5 nays.
Amash-Lee (Amdt #155): DID NOT PASS. 187 yeas, 234 nays.
McGovern-Jones (Amdt #30): DID NOT PASS. 204 yeas, 215 nays.

We'll have further analysis soon.]

[update by KG Tuesday 8:50 pm ET: The following amendments will be brought to the floor for a vote: McGovern/Jones exit strategy (Amdt # 30), Amash-Lee amendment to cut out authorization for permanent war (Amdt #155), and the Conyers amendment to cut funds for ground troops (Amdt #35). Rep. Lee's amendment to limit US funding to that which is necessary for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces was not approved for a floor vote. Rules Committee posted all the approved amendments here]

[update by RN Tuesday 5 pm ET: CLW report is Afghanistan votes likely Thursday.]

[update by RN Tuesday 2:30 pm ET: Peace Action guess is first votes possible 1pm ET Wednesday.]

Call Script

1. Call your Representative at 1-888-231-9276
2. When you reach your Representative's office, ask to speak to the staff person who handles foreign policy, or ask for the foreign policy staff person by name, if you know it. If this person is not available, leave your message with the person who answered the phone.
3. Tell them: "I urge you to support the McGovern-Jones amendment to end the war in Afghanistan, the Conyers amendment to stop military escalation in Libya, and the Amash-Lee amendment to strip the authorization for permanent war from the defense bill."
4. After you make your call, take a moment to tell us how your call went by leaving a comment on this blog post.

List of Amendments

And here is more information on the amendments we expect to be introduced:

1. McGovern-Jones amendment to end the war in Afghanistan (Amdt #30)

Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that will call for an "accelerated transition" of US troops out of Afghanistan beginning in July. Their amendment is based on similar legislation they introduced earlier this month, the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act (HR 1735).

2. Conyers amendment to bar US "ground troops" from being sent to Libya (Amdt #35)

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would bar the Administration from sending U.S. "ground troops" (i.e. uniformed members of the Armed Forces, rather than CIA or Special Forces who are already there) from being sent to Libya without explicit Congressional authorization.

3. Amash-Lee Amendment to Remove McKeon Authorization for Endless War (Amdt #155)

The Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon (R-CA) has proposed legislation that would re-authorize and expand the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, enabling endless, global war without the need for future Congressional authorization. Rep. McKeon recently added his bill to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Last week, the New York Times editorialized in support of removing the McKeon language. An amendment is expected to be proposed to remove the McKeon authorization from the National Defense Authorization Act.

There was no one who specialized in Foreign Policy at Charlie Bass's office, but I left a message with the person who answered requesting the Congressman vote against all wars (not in those words, but the complete verbiage suggested above. The person who answered said he would make sure that C Bass got the message.

Called Congressman John Dingell's office. Left a message with the staffer who answered the phone. Urged the Congressman to support the amendments as per today's script.

I was passed from his office to the subcommittee and spoke to someone on the committee. I was able to clearly say that I wanted to support the McGovern, Jones amendments to the Act and hoped that Repr. Cummings would as well. I was told that the message would be forwarded to my representative.

I just spoke at some length w/ Nina Besser, who was identified as Jan Schakowsky's (IL-9th) foreign policy staff person. She said she wasn't up to speed on all these 3 matters but felt confident that Jan would at least support #30---if it gets out of the Rules Committee and comes up for a vote. Since she brought up 'committees', I took the opportunity to mention that Jan is on the Intelligence Committee, and how important it is that violations of the Constitution's protection against unwarranted surveillance by the government be stopped---a concern most recently illustrated in last week's (May 23) New Yorker article by Jane Meyer about pending federal prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. Nina was familiar with the New Yorker article. I also expressed my dismay that Jan has not been able to take a stand for justice in the Israel/Palestine issue. In the end Nina suggested that I call her back tomorrow when she will know more about the 3 amendments and Jan's likely position.

Just left a message with a staffer at Rep. Blumenauer's office. It is a small gesture on my part, but it keeps me feeling focused and enfranchised.

I called Jan Schakowsky's (9th.IL) and asked to speak with Ms. Nina Besser, who was previously identified by another commenter as the representative's foreign policy staffer. I was advised she was not in, so I left her a voice mail message requesting that she advise the representative to support these three amendments, which I mentioned by name and number. I left my phone number with her and asked her to call me to discuss.

i called the office of my representative Jason Altmire (PA 4th). There was no staff person for foreign policy available, so I gave my detailed message to the person answering the phone. He listened carefully and asked me to repeat some part that he did not get the first time. then he asked my name and zip code and promised to deliver my message to the representative.

I called Rep. Chip Cravaack's office, foreign policy staffer not available, but they said they would pass on message.

Spoke to Michael Capuano's staff person and asked that the Rep. vote to end the war. I am guessing he is on the 'right' side of the issue.


Called Sen Huerera in Washington state and got her direct voice mail and left a message.

Called Rep. Frank Guinta's office (NH) and left the message with his staff person.

I left a message with the person who answered the phone (Jonathan). The person handling foreign policy wasn't available but the person I spoke with said he'll give the message (verbatim script from above) to Mr. Jeff Denham. Jonathan seemed reluctant to transfer me over to the the foreign policy person after I told him my name and that I was a constituent.

I called Rep. Myrick's office. Her staff person was totally bland about my comments. Rep. Myrick is a notorious hate monger thriving on southern phobias regarding latinos and muslims. I don't expect it made a difference but a least I have tried,r

Left a message with the staffer of Todd Young, R-IN 9

I made the call for all three amendments. The staff person seemed receptive.

Call went smoothly, spoke with a receptionist. She seemed to be writing down what i had to say. Which came mostly from the call script. She asked for contact info which i glad supplied.

will pass comments along

I called Rep. Hinchey, saying how the defense contractors built at least one (1) munitions manufacturing plant within every Congressional District in America, so cutting military spending could be advertized on the coprorate controlled media as "cutting American jobs".

I then spoke of the immorality of the US invading sovereign nations - or giving them military aid - to prop up dictators (or steal elections), so US Corporations can STEAL natural resources & evirtually enslave foreign people; how this causes such eents as 9/11 (What the CIA calls blowback).

I finished the call by asking for support of the three bills..., as Just Foreign Policy suggested.

I called Congressman LLoyd Doggett's office to ask for the Congressman's support for the three amendments. The person, repeated the numbers of each of the amendments and assured me that he would pass my request on to the Congressman.

I spoke with a staffer named 'Alisha' (the general receptionist) in Karen Bass' office. Alisha informed me that the staffer who handles foreign policy was 'in a meeting' (no doubt due to the impending votes on the various amendments) but that she would relay my comments to Representative Bass.

I also sent Representative Bass a detailed email expressing my position that she vote in favor of each of the 3 amendments specified above.

I spoke to Ahmed in Congressman Charles rangel's office, He said the Congressman supported the McGovern Amemdment, he did not know where the foreign policy person was but he did not think the congressman had taken a position on the Conyers Libya amemdment and the Removal of the unlimited war provisions.

When I asked to speak with John Culberson's foreign policy staffer Alec F, the receptionist inquired which organization I represented. I explained that I was calling on behalf of myself and four voting family members (we're all constituents of John and frankly poorly represented by him). I was patched into Alex's voice mail since he was "unavailable," and left a message urging John support the three amendments, noting that the cost in human lives and suffering and to our treasury demanded he do so.

I called my representative, Mike Thompson, (California district 1) and reached a person in his office. I urged him to support amendments #30, #35, and #155. When I asked whether he knew Rep. Thompson's stance on these three amendments, he said he believed he supported #30 but was not taking a position on #155 yet as it might not come before the House for a vote. He said he had not heard of amendment #35 and could not comment on where Rep. Thompson might stand on this amendment.

Our representative haven't given yet any comment on this matter and I just hope that it will side the truth because the people wants nothing but the truth about this incident!

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