The U.S. Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 that authorizes spending of $633 billion. The final bill makes no attempt challenge the bill's language allowing for indefinite detention of Americans arrested in the U.S.
The House passed the bill by a vote of 315 to 107 while the Senate vote was 81 to 14. The reconciled bill increased the budget amount compared to either the earlier House or Senate versions. It also removed the Feinberg amendment.
The Feinberg amendment was allegedly to ban the indefinite detention of Americans seized in the U.S. However, critics said that the vaguely worded amendment actually made it easier to do so. Some Senators in favor of indefinite detention actually voted for it. While the disappearance of the amendment may not be much of a loss, the entire issue seems now to have been forgotten.
Some of the few who opposed by bill such as Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, cited their concern for the open-ended detention of Americans as their prime reason to vote against it. The bill will now go to Obama for his signature although that is a mere formality. Obama's main concern was that the bill contain no attempt to limit his power to detain anyone.
The Pentagon base budget will be $527.5 billion with an additional $88.5 billion for overseas operations that would include the war in Afghanistan.The bill requests Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to develop and implement a plan to increase by up to one thousand, the number of Marines assigned to embassy and consulate security. This measure is, in part, a response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi Libya. The attack killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and several others.
The final bill will allow the Pentagon to continue measures to develop bio-fuels. The Republican-dominated House had tried to prevent the purchase of any fuels that were more expensive than petroleum products and also to place limits on any military assistance for companies to build bio-fuel refineries.
. While there is no Xmas deal to solve the looming problem of the fiscal cliff, the military budget elicits bi-partisan cooperation. The military already has their 2013 funding approved along with President Obama's undiminished power to indefinitely detain anyone he deems a threat.
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