Merkley Statement on National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON, DC Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after voting against the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which stripped out earlier provisions in the Senate bill that were designed to protect American citizens against indefinite detention: 

“The freedom and liberty of American citizens are the bedrock, founding principles of our government. I am extremely disappointed that after the Senate unanimously passed this bill 98-0, it came back from negotiations with the House stripped of a bipartisan provision designed to safeguard that freedom and liberty. The indefinite detention of citizens, without due process or the right to a speedy trial, goes against our Constitution and our core principles as a nation. Though I support much of this bill, I voted no because allowing those policies to continue unchecked undermines the freedoms written into our founding documents, and that is unacceptable. 

“I was very pleased, however, that the final bill maintains the call for a swift and responsible end to the war in Afghanistan. This is the first time that Congress has called upon the President to end the war and to, if possible, accelerate the return of American troops.” 

The bill’s provision calling for a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan was the result of a bipartisan amendment Senator Merkley offered to the Senate bill, which passed on a vote of 62-33.