Rep. Tom Rooney (far right) attacked an amendment to the defense reauthorization bill offered by fellow Republican Rep. Justin Amash (left).
Rep. Tom Rooney (Fla.) Thursday lashed out at fellow Republican Rep. Justin Amash, accusing the Michigan lawmaker of wanting to “coddle foreign enemy combatants.”
“The Amash amendment sacrifices our national security in order to coddle foreign enemy combatants … never in our nation’s history have we granted enemy combatants who attack our homeland during a time of war the same rights and privileges of American citizens, but that’s exactly what the Amash amendment would do,” Rooney said in a statement.
Rooney, a former military prosecutor, ripped into his colleague as the House prepared to debate Amash’s bipartisan amendment to the defense reauthorization bill that would eliminate the authority of the military to indefinitely detain individuals suspected of being terrorists who were caught within the United States.
On Wednesday, Amash and House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) defended their amendment, arguing that the detention authority represents an unnecessary and dangerous encroachment on the civil liberties of Americans.
The detention authority “is an extreme amount of power to grant to the executive branch … leaving it on our books is an unnecessary threat to our civil liberties,” Smith said Wednesday.
Smith also dismissed arguments that the authority is necessary to combat terrorism. “That simply isn’t true,” Smith said, noting that hundreds of terrorists have been prosecuted and convicted in domestic courts during the past decade.
Likewise, Amash defended the amendment, arguing that he had “heard from Republicans and Democrats and Independents on this issue” during recent town halls and that, as it stands, the reauthorization bill “does not have the protections we need.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.