On Monday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) proposed an amendment to this year's National Defense Authorization Act. The National Defense Authorization Act has to be renewed every year, and every year Lee proposes the same amendment.
This year, it was co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who may be as far to the left of the political spectrum as Lee is to the right.
What was this amendment about?
The proposal for Amendment 2366 read simply:
To clarify that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority does not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
In his speech on the Senate floor, Lee compared the current law to the laws that allowed for Japanese-American internment during World War II and the McCarran Internal Security Act (that President Harry S. Truman tried, unsuccessfully, to veto).
Lee was targeting a provision added to the National Defense Authorization Act in 2011 for fiscal year 2012, which allowed for American citizens to be arrested on American soil on suspicion of terrorism without a trial.
“The purpose of the amendment is simple. It’s to make sure that the U.S. government has no authority and claims no authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens apprehended on U.S. soil,” Lee said in a statement to TheBlaze.
“The laws of the United States and the principles that govern the behavior of decent people everywhere dictate that we should correct [this] error in the law,” he continued.
Was it voted down?
This amendment did not even make it to a vote.
On Wednesday, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) moved to table the amendment, which would postpone it from being voted on indefinitely. However, Inhofe's motion was voted down 68-30, with senators from both parties voting to move forward.
While this did not guarantee that all 68 senators who voted to let the amendment go for a vote would have voted to pass it, it does mean that a veto-proof majority of them wanted to be able to vote on the issue.
But that vote did not mean that the amendment would move forward to a vote. On Thursday, a point of order was raised arguing that the amendment was “not germane,” or not relevant to the act to which it would have been attached. Because of this, the amendment could not move forward for a vote.
While the Senate, and the House of Representatives, will often try to attach unrelated issues to a larger bill, this amendment was addressing an existing issue already inside the National Defense Authorization Act. Because of this, it is difficult to tell why the amendment was ruled as “not germane.”
TheBlaze reached out to the offices of GOP Senate leadership members who voted against the bill for clarification. The offices of Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have not yet responded. The office of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) referred TheBlaze to Lee.