As the House and Senate negotiate the National Defense Authorization Act, Demand Progress Action urges members of Congress to support the retention, rejection, amendment, and addition of the following provisions:
We urge retention of the following SASC provisions:
– Section 1273 of S.Amdt. 5499 to H.R. 7900, Prohibition on in-flight refueling to non-United States aircraft that engage in hostilities in the ongoing civil war in Yemen. This provision ensures that any President cannot restart refueling without Congress’s approval.
– Subtitle E of S.Amdt. 5499 to H.R. 7900, Congressionally Mandated Reports. This provision would establish a central repository of agency reports submitted to Congress and track whether agencies have submitted Congressionally required reports, strengthening oversight and improving government transparency.
We urge amendment of the following SASC provision:
– Section 1062 of S.Amdt. 5499 to H.R. 7900, Report on impact of certain ethics requirements on Department of Defense hiring, retention, and operations. This provision should be amended to also require reporting on the adequacy and implementation of rules governing former senior Defense personnel’s work for foreign governments, like Saudi Arabia.
We urge addition of the following language:
– Senator Wyden and Representative Raskin’s Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying Act (the PRESS Act, S. 2457/H.R. 4330). The House passed a bill containing this language earlier this Congress. It would safeguard a free and independent press by protecting journalists and their records from being seized by federal law enforcement.
– Senator Leahy and Representative Nadler’s NDO Fairness Act (S. 4373/H.R. 7072). The House passed a bill containing this language earlier this Congress. It would rein in the government’s disturbing practice of surveilling Americans’ email and internet records and then obtaining a non-disclosure order to block service providers from notifying their customers that their personal information has been searched.
We urge rejection of the following House provision:
– Section 1331 of H.R. 7900, Support of special operations for irregular warfare. This provision would codify and increase the annual budget for the security cooperation authority Section 1202 of the FY18 NDAA, which the executive branch might use to engage in unauthorized and undisclosed hostilities through foreign partners, without appropriate oversight mechanisms or limitations.
We urge the Senate to adopt the following House provisions:
– Section 1337 of H.R. 7900, Use of United States-origin defense articles in Yemen. This provision requires the Secretary of State to develop guidance for investigating indications that U.S.-origin defense articles have been used in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition in substantial violation of relevant agreements with countries participating in the coalition and to report to Congress, consistent with GAO recommendations.
– Section 1098 of H.R. 7900, Report on Purchase and Use by Department of Defense of Location Data Generated by Americans’ Phones and Their Internet Metadata. Reporting has recently revealed that government agencies are sidestepping Constitutional and statutory surveillance rules by purchasing information about people in the United States, and this provision would provide critical transparency into the extent to which the Department of Defense is engaging in this practice without revealing classified information.
– Section 1037 of H.R. 7900, Consideration of human rights records of recipients of support of special operations to combat terrorism. This provision would subject potential foreign partners the U.S. military works with under security cooperation authorities (in 10 U.S.C. Section 127e and Section 1202 of the FY18 NDAA) to an interagency review process and clarify that such partners cannot be directed to take actions that U.S. forces have no legal authority to undertake themselves.
– Section 1229A of H.R. 7900, Repeal of Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
– Section 1079A of H.R. 7900, Report on Department of Defense practices regarding distinction between combatants and civilians in United States military operations.
– Section 5850 of H.R. 7900, Support for Afghan Special Immigrant Visa and Refugee Applicants.
– Section 1358 of H.R. 7900, Sense of Congress regarding the inclusion of sunset provisions in authorizations for use of military force.
– Section 1071 of H.R. 7900, Annual report on civilian casualties in connection with United States military operations. This provision would make essential updates to the annual report on civilian casualties in connection with U.S. military operations.
– Section 5865 of H.R. 7900, Report on Columbian military forces.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these provisions with you further. Please contact Hajar Hammado, policy advisor for Demand Progress, at [email protected]. Thank you for your consideration.