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  • Blocking the Voice of the American People
    by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
    Published - 12/20/13 - 02:00 PM | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
    Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
    (SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) - The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is one of the most important pieces of legislation annually considered by Congress, authorizing the funding of our armed forces and setting forth the policies to ensure that our nation is secure. For nearly 50 years, both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress have put partisanship aside to carefully consider the best way to ensure that our military has adequate resources and our citizens are safe.

    This year, however, without warning or cause, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow for adequate debate or an open process for amending the legislation, breaking an important tradition that has been one of Congress’s few bright spots in recent years.

    In the past decade, regardless of which party was in power, the NDAA has been considered in the Senate for an average of nine days with an average of 130 amendments considered each year. But this year, after just two days of considering the bill and voting on only two amendments, Reid filed a motion to end debate on the legislation and block any other senator, Republican or Democrat, from offering further amendments. This is a dangerous and unnecessary new precedent to set when it comes to our national security.

    I wrote an op-ed in the Deseret News to explain how Harry Reid's choice to abandon long-standing precedents in the Senate blocks the voice of the American people in Washington. My colleagues and I had several amendments dealing with our due process rights, the NSA, sanctions against Iran, and sexual assault in the military. Regardless of where you stand on these issues, you deserve to have these issues debated by your representatives in Washington.

    I cannot vote to support this legislation until my colleagues and I are allowed to debate and amend it in a way that respects the normal democratic processes that have worked well for almost 50 years

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