Amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act Vote Recap

On Friday, the House of Representatives voted on a series of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R.4310). Heritage Action key voted three out of many good amendments; one that would require the President to send all al Qaeda terrorists captured in the United States immediately to federal court for prosecution; one that would ban any reductions to the strategic nuclear triad unless Russia proves that it is complying with the New START Treaty; and one that would bar funds for the implementation of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). The amendments are listed below, along with a breakdown of how Republicans and Democrats voted on each amendment.

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Is John Kerry Shilling for Big Oil?

Here’s a noodle-scratcher for you: Senator John Kerry (D-MA) – a self-proclaimed environmentalist and strident believer in manmade global warming – is apparently carrying water for America’s oil and natural gas companies.

What could Senator Kerry and “Big Oil” have in common?  They both support the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which cedes America’s sovereignty and royalties to a United Nation’s subsidiary.

According to a source familiar with his sales pitch to Republicans and conservatives, Senator Kerry claims that “in 5 years most of the Arctic ice will have been melted due to climate change, opening up vast new shipping lanes that will give access to resources that were unreachable before. China and Russia have been pushing to get at those resources. We need to make sure our oil and gas companies have the certainty they need to develop our resources in the Arctic.”

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Modernizing America’s Nuclear Arsenal

Unfortunately, the I-told-you-so moments keep coming.

Heritage Action has been keeping you up to date on issues revolving the New START Treaty, which was ratified during the 2010 lame duck session of Congress. Without any real concessions from Russia, our government began walking down the path of unilateral nuclear disarmament. President Obama promised Senate Republicans he would commit to modernizing our remaining nuclear arsenal.

That promise was the reason so many Republican Senators voted to ratify the treaty, and why many others did not mount an effort to kill it. Unfortunately, like so many other promises from this President, this rang hollow.

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White House “Walking Away” from New START Deal

Last month, we highlighted the “duplicitous nature of the New START negotiations” and the apparent quid pro quo, which led too many Republicans Senators to support the treaty (or look the other way) based on a promise from President Obama to modernize America’s remaining nuclear arsenal.  Now, CQ (sub. req’d) is reporting that lawmakers are once again concerned that President Obama is “walking away” from his commitment:

To appease some Republicans and secure the 67 votes necessary for Senate approval of the treaty, the White House pledged an additional $4.1 billion to be spent on nuclear modernization over five years. But Republicans are now concerned that the promised funding will be dropped amid budget-reduction efforts at the Pentagon. 

In recent weeks, word leaked that the administration is considering deep cuts to the nuclear arsenal — perhaps slashing the number of strategic warheads from an estimated 2,152 to between 300 and 1,100 — prompting backlash from Republicans in both chambers. 

It was a bad strategy that resulted in typically bad policy; in other words, typical Washington.  Now, House lawmakers are trying to find a way out of the disarmament box constructed by their Senate colleagues.  This should continue to serve as an important lesson for Senators and Representatives; especially as certain interest groups ramp up the quiet, though occasionally intense, pressure to approve the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

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President Obama “Attention Hog-in-Chief”

“Look at me! Look at me! Hey! Hey! Are you paying attention to me?”

While not a direct quote, it accurately sums up yesterday’s press conference, which just so happened to take place on a day when most in the media and the political world were going to be continuously talking about the GOP presidential primary. This was President Obama’s first press conference of the year, and his first in nearly 5 months. As always, it was ripe for rebuttal:

“But there are still millions of Americans who can’t find a job. There are millions more who are having a tough time making the rent or the mortgage, paying for gas or groceries. So our job in Washington isn’t to sit back and do nothing. And it certainly isn’t to stand in the way of the recovery.”

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