Votes against National Defense Authorization Bill that expands presidential authority for military action and includes no plan for Afghanistan
Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today voted against FY2012 Defense Authorization bill. Although Himes has voted in favor of such authorization bills in the past, he opposed today’s bill because it gives the President unbridled new military authority, it increases defense expenditures, and it includes no plan to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.
“The Authorization of Military Force provision of this bill gives the President unprecedented and nearly unlimited power to wage war anywhere in the world, at any time, without Congressional approval. The President himself, a constitutional scholar, strongly opposed this dangerous provision,” said Himes, “It also increases baseline defense spending and includes no plans to wind down our presence in Afghanistan. I will always stand unconditionally with our troops and for our security. But having just attended a memorial service for Spc. David Fahey and met his family, I will not vote for a bill which eliminates Congress’ oversight of war making and which will make the tragedy of Spc. Fahey’s death much more common in the future.”
Today the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 1514, the National Defense Spending Authorization Act. Dozens of amendments to the bill were offered, but important provisions that would have protected Congress’ power to oversee military action, reduce defense spending or draw down troops in Afghanistan failed.
Himes voted in favor of an amendment that required ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, leaving just those who are involved in small, targeted counter-terrorism operations within 60 days. It also requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a withdrawal plan to Congress within 60 days.