National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 sails through the Senate

U.S. Navy Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Marvin Tapper observes Landing Craft Air Cushion 42 as it approaches the well deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) in the Arabian Sea Nov. 23, 2012. Green Bay was part of the Peleliu Amphibious Readiness Group and was under way supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (DoD Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam, U.S. Navy/Released)

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 sailed through the Senate today with a 98-0 vote.

Two Senators did not vote on S. 3254: Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).

Key amendments included in the final bill: 

SA 2985, submitted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Co.), to lift an provision (Section 313)  inserted by House Republicans to eliminate funding for and prohibit purchases of alternative fuel by the U.S. military. Udall’s amendment passed by a vote of 62 to 37, largely along party lines. 11 Republicans broke rank and voted with the Democrats to restore alternative fuel funding: Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mike Johanns (Nebraska), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Ala.), Olympia Snowe (Maine), and John Thune (S.D.).


SA 2981, proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), to bar any individual convicted of a felony sexual offense to enlist or be commissioned in the military.


SA 3124, proposed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), to prohibit any contractor or its subcontractor for the U.S. government from engaging in human trafficking acts, including allowing the use of forced labor or prostitution, confiscating an employee’s identification or immigration documents, refusing to pay return transportation costs for the employee, charging their employees unreasonable placement or recruitment fees, and providing unsafe housing for employees.


SA 2929, proposed by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), to terminate uncompleted infrastructure projects in Afghanistan that are deemed “unsustainable”, meaning that the Afghan government wouldn’t be able to “effectively maintain and use the project.”


SA 2942, proposed by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), to protect whistleblowers to non-defense contractors from reprisal for reporting alleged mismanagement of federal contract, waste of taxpayer dollars, or violations of law by companies.


SA 3245, proposed by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), to block the use of funds for the “transfer or release” of Guantanamo detainees. The amendment stated:

“No authorized to be appropriated funds may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee who–

(1) is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and

(2) is or was held on or after January 20, 2009, at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense.”

It was narrowly approved by a 54 to 41 vote, largely along party lines, with 5 abstentions. 9 Democrats joined the Republicans in support of SA 3245: Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jim Webb (D-Va.). Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.) also voted in support of SA 3245.


SA 3018, proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), to prohibit the “indefinite detention of citizens and lawful permanent residents” without charge or trial during wartime. “An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention,” according to SA 3018.

The amendment passed by a vote 67 yeas, 29 nays, and 4 abstentions. 3 Democrats broke rank and joined 25 republicans in voting against the amendment: Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). The Republicans who voted against SA 3018 were: Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.),  Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), David Vitter (R-La.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) also voted against the amendment.


SA 3102, proposed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), to require that sexual misconduct offenses in the military – such as rape, sexual assault, forced sodomy, or attempts to commit such acts – will have to be handled by court martial instead of “non-judicial punishment or administrative action.”



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