Jim Jeffords on Homeland Security
Independent Jr Senator (VT, retiring 2006)
Voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.
Sen. Specter's amendment would strike the provision regarding habeas review. The underlying bill authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. Excerpts from the Senate floor debate:
Sen. GRAHAM [recommending NO]: The fundamental question for the Senate to answer when it comes to determining enemy combatant status is, Who should make that determination? Should that be a military decision or should it be a judicial decision? That is something our military should do.
Sen. SPECTER [recommending YES]: My amendment would retain the constitutional right of habeas corpus for people detained at Guantanamo. The right of habeas corpus was established in the Magna Carta in 1215 when, in England, there was action taken against King John to establish a procedure to prevent illegal detention. What the bill seeks to do is to set back basic rights by some 900 years. This amendment would strike that provision and make certain that the constitutional right of
habeas corpus is maintained.
GRAHAM: Do we really want enemy prisoners to bring every lawsuit known to man against the people fighting the war and protecting us? No enemy prisoner should have access to Federal courts--a noncitizen, enemy combatant terrorist--to bring a lawsuit against those fighting on our behalf. No judge should have the ability to make a decision that has been historically reserved to the military. That does not make us safer.
SPECTER: The US Constitution states that "Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." We do not have either rebellion or invasion, so it is a little hard for me to see, as a basic principle of constitutional law, how the Congress can suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
GRAHAM: If the Supreme Court does say in the next round of legal appeals there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus by those detained at Guantanamo Bay, then Sen. Specter is absolutely right.
Reference: Specter Amendment;
Bill S.AMDT.5087 to S.3930
; vote number 2006-255
on Sep 28, 2006
Voted YES on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods.
Amendment to provide for congressional oversight of certain Central Intelligence Agency programs. The underlying bill S. 3930 authorizes trial by military commission for violations of the law of war. The amendment requires quarterly reports describing all CIA detention facilities; the name of each detainee; their suspected activities; & each interrogation technique authorized for use and guidelines on the use of each such technique.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
I question the need for a very lengthy, detailed report every 3 months. We will probably see those reports leaked to the press.
This amendment would spread out for the world--and especially for al-Qaida and its related organizations--precisely what interrogation techniques are going to be used.
If we lay out, in an unclassified version, a description of the techniques by the Attorney General, that description will be in al-Qaida and Hezbollah and all of the other terrorist organizations' playbook. They will train their assets that: This is what you must be expected to do, and Allah wants you to resist these techniques.
We are passing this bill so that we can detain people. If we catch someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, we have no way to hold him, no way to ask him the questions and get the information we need, because the uncertainty has brought the program to a close. It is vitally important to our security, and unfortunately this amendment would imperil it.
Reference: Rockefeller Amendment;
Bill S.AMDT.5095 to S.3930
; vote number 2006-256
on Sep 28, 2006
Voted NO on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act.
This vote reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act with some modifications (amendments). Voting YEA extends the PATRIOT Act, and voting NAY would phase it out. The official summary of the bill is:
A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
- Some may see the vote we are about to have as relatively trivial. They are mistaken. While the bill we are voting on makes only minor cosmetic changes to the PATRIOT Act, it will allow supporting the PATRIOT Act conference report that was blocked in December. Cosmetic changes simply don't cut it when we are talking about protecting the rights and freedoms of
Americans from unnecessarily intrusive Government powers.
- The White House has tried to make life uncomfortable for Senators. It has suggested they are soft on terrorism, that they don't understand the pressing threat facing this country, that they are stuck in a pre-9/11 mindset. Those attacks should be rejected.
- We can fight terrorism aggressively without compromising our most fundamental freedoms against Government intrusion. The Government grabbed powers it should not have when it passed the original PATRIOT Act and we should not be ratifying that power grab today. The PATRIOT Act reauthorization conference report is flawed. S. 2271 pretends to fix it but I don't think anyone is fooled, least of all our constituents.
- Because the Republican leadership obstructed efforts to improve the bill, the "police state" provisions regarding gag orders remain uncorrected. The Senate should get down to the serious business of legislating real fixes to the PATRIOT Act.
Reference: USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments;
Bill S. 2271
; vote number 2006-025
on Mar 1, 2006
Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.
Vote to invoke cloture on a conference report that extends the authority of the FBI to conduct "roving wiretaps" and access business records. Voting YES would recommend, in effect, that the PATRIOT Act be extended through December 31, 2009, and would makes the provisions of the PATRIOT Act permanent. Voting NO would extend debate further, which would have the effect of NOT extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision.
Reference: Motion for Cloture of PATRIOT Act;
Bill HR 3199
; vote number 2005-358
on Dec 16, 2005
Voted YES on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism.
Vote to adopt an amendment that makes US businesses and their subsidiaries liable to prosecution for dealing with foreign businesses which have links to terrorism or whose parent country supports terrorism. Voting YES would:
Reference: Stop Business with Terrorists Act of 2005;
Bill S AMDT 1351 to S 1042
; vote number 2005-203
on Jul 26, 2005
- Empower the President under the Trading with the Enemy Act to prohibit US businesses and their subsidiaries from transacting with foreign businesses identified as having links to terrorism.
- Forbid US businesses and their subsidiaries from engaging in transactions with any foreign business whose parent country has been identified as a supporter of international terrorism.
- Require the President to publish a list of foreign businesses identified as having links to terrorism, and bans US ownership or control of foreign businesses engaged in transactions with such businesses.
- Call for US businesses to disclose in their annual reports any ownership stake of at least 10% in a foreign business that is itself engaging in transactions with a proscribed foreign business.
Voted YES on restoring $565M for states' and ports' first responders.
Amendment intended to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by restoring $565 million in cuts to vital first-responder programs in the Department of Homeland Security, including the State Homeland Security Grant program, by providing $150 million for port security grants and by providing $140 million for 1,000 new border patrol agents.
Reference: State Homeland Security Grant Program Amendment;
Bill S AMDT 220 to S Con Res 18
; vote number 2005-64
on Mar 17, 2005
Voted YES on adopting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would ban nuclear weapons testing six months after ratification by the 44 nations that have nuclear power plants or nucelar research reactors.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Rejected Y)48; N)51; P)1
Reference: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty;
Bill Treaty Document #105-28
; vote number 1999-325
on Oct 13, 1999
Voted YES on allowing another round of military base closures.
Vote on an amendment to allow one round of military base closures beginning in 2001 as determined by an independent panel.
; vote number 1999-147
on May 26, 1999
Voted NO on cutting nuclear weapons below START levels.
The Kerrey (D-NE) amdt would strike bill language requiring that U.S. strategic nuclear forces remain at START I levels through the end of fiscal 2000 unless Russia ratified START II.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)56; N)44
Reference: Motion to table Kerrey Amdt #395;
Bill S. 1059
; vote number 1999-149
on May 26, 1999
Voted YES on deploying National Missile Defense ASAP.
Vote that the policy of the US is to deploy a National Missile Defense system capable of defending against limited ballistic missile attack as soon as it is technologically possible, and to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces.
Bill S 257
; vote number 1999-51
on Mar 17, 1999
Voted YES on military pay raise of 4.8%.
Vote to pass a bill to authorize a military pay raise of 4.8% in 2000 and annual pay increases through 2006 of 0.5% above the inflation rate. The bill would also provide additional incentives to certain enlisted personnel who remain on active duty.
; vote number 1999-26
on Feb 24, 1999
Voted NO on prohibiting same-sex basic training.
Byrd Amdt (D-WV) that would prohibit same-sex military barracks and basic training.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)39; N)53; NV)8
Reference: Byrd Amdt #3011;
Bill S. 2057
; vote number 1998-180
on Jun 25, 1998
Voted YES on favoring 36 vetoed military projects.
Overturning line-item vetoes of 36 military projects vetoed by President Clinton.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)30; NV)1
Reference: Line Item Veto Cancellation bill;
Bill S. 1292
; vote number 1997-287
on Oct 30, 1997
Voted YES on banning chemical weapons.
Approval of the chemical weapons ban.
Status: Resolution of Ratification Agreed to Y)74; N)26
Reference: Resolution of ratification of the Chemical (Comprehensive) Weapons (Convention) Ban;
Bill S. Res. 75
; vote number 1997-51
on Apr 24, 1997
Voted YES on considering deploying NMD, and amending ABM Treaty.
Vote to consider establishing a policy requiring the deployment of a national missile defense system by the end of 2003. The bill would also urge discussions with Russia to amend the ABM Treaty to allow deployment of the system.
Bill S 1635
; vote number 1996-157
on Jun 4, 1996
Voted YES on 1996 Defense Appropriations.
Approval of the 1996 Defense Appropriations bill.
Status: Bill Passed Y)62; N)35; NV)3
Reference: Defense Approps Bill FY 96;
Bill S. 1087
; vote number 1995-397
on Sep 5, 1995
Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009