Jeff Landry Replies to the Open Letter

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The following is another Congressional reply sent to Free Patriot Press from a reader regarding NDAA.

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December 16, 2011
 
Mr. [name removed]
[address removed]
[city removed], LA 70075-2831
Dear Mr. [name removed]:
 
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. I am glad to hear from you and appreciate having the benefit of your views on this vital issue.
 
Without a doubt, I recognize the importance of providing for the brave men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis protecting the freedoms we hold dear. The NDAA is the primary mechanism by which Congress fulfills its most important constitutional duty of providing for the common defense.
 
The NDAA is a massive piece of legislation that does everything from setting troop end strength levels and authorizing the purchases of new military equipment, to dictating the national policy our military must follow when conducting military operations. As I do with all legislation that comes before me here in the House, I closely studied H.R. 1540 and scrutinized each of its provisions. And, after much thoughtful consideration, I cast my vote in support of this legislation.
 
That said, I have expressed serious concern about detainee provisions found in the final version of this year’s NDAA and have taken several steps to address these questionable provisions.
 
Specifically, I am concerned with Sections 1021 and 1022 (previously Sections 1031 and 1032) of the legislation which grant the President the authority to hold certain persons in “detention under the law of war without trial until the end of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.” While these sections do mention certain exemptions for American citizens, the language defining these exemptions is overly broad and unclear. As these provisions deal with the most basic liberties of American citizens, clarity is a must.
 
As an attorney who has tried several cases in the federal court system, I am always wary of legal language that threatens the most basic liberties of the American people, specifically those dealing with Due Process. Any statute that could possibly be interpreted to allow a President to detain American citizens without charge or trial is incredibly alarming.
 
In order to establish legislative intent—which Courts must use to determine what a bill actually means if the legislative text is unclear—and ensure the bill does not allow indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, I took to the House floor to ask U.S. Representative Buck McKeon – Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services –if H.R. 1540 infringes upon our Constitutional rights.
 
Our conversation, which will be permanently documented in the Congressional Record, established that nothing in this legislation grants the President the authority to suspend Americans’ rights of due process. Additionally, Chairman McKeon agreed to work with me on further clarifying the meaning and reach of these detainee provisions. You can view my colloquy at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNxbNguXY-A&feature=youtu.be.
 
I did not stop there. I introduced H.R. 3676, a bill to amend the detainee provisions of the NDAA to specifically state that United States citizens may not be deprived the rights of due process. This stand alone bill will safeguard American freedoms by definitively establishing the parameters of the President’s power, and I look forward to its prompt passage. You can find more information on my legislation at http://landry.house.gov/sites/landry.house.gov/files/documents/HR%203676.pdf.
 
In the coming weeks, I plan to push this legislation and am committed to seek out cosponsors on both sides of the aisle to build a large coalition that will work towards passage of H.R. 3676.
 
Again, thank you for contacting me. It is an honor to serve as your Representative in Congress. If there is ever anything else I can do to be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me again.
 
Respectfully,
Signature
Jeff Landry
Member of Congress

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