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House Passes Defense Authorization Bill with Amendment Co-sponsored by Rep. Clarke

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1540, the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Bill with a vote of 322 to 96.  This bill authorizes the budget for the Department of Defense and the national security programs within the Department of Energy.  Included in the bill is an amendment sponsored by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) and co-sponsored by Rep. Yvette D. Clarke which prevents funds authorized in bill from being used to engage in combat operations on the ground in Libya.  Rep. Clarke submitted the following statement to the Congressional Record:

“I rise today in support of the Conyers Amendment, opposing the deployment of ground troops in Libya.  It is unconscionable for us to deploy our already strained troops into harm’s way again when many of them have served two, three or more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It is also irresponsible for us to spend more money on another open-ended military conflict without a cogent plan of action and withdrawal.  As a Member of Congress, I cannot take part in another act of aggression further straining the budget we are so desperately working to fix and our troops who have answered above and beyond the call of duty.

“My constituents and I already feel that the war in Afghanistan has gone on long enough without a clear and sufficient exit strategy.  We cannot partake in another fruitless war.

“We must shift our focus to getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, stabilizing our economy and creating jobs for the American people.  Instead let us focus on securing funding for small businesses rather than spend money in another open- end conflict.

“Mr. Speaker, as a representative of the 11th Congressional District of New York, our hearts and minds go out to the people’s struggle for freedom in Libya.  And as a nation, we should continue our support for their quest for freedom, through NATO forces. 

“However it is our duty as a Members of Congress to protect and serve our fellow Americans first.  Therefore, I urge my colleagues to join us and support this amendment.

Members of Congress who were original co-sponsors of the amendment include U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jeff Duncan (R-SC),  Sam Farr (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ),  Mike Honda (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Walter Jones (R-NC),  Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), McClintock (R-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Tim Stark (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).