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Congress Alert

Rep. John Duncan: Shut Off the Afghanistan War Money Spigot

Speaking this month on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) sharply criticized the Afghanistan War, declaring that the war “has always been about money — increased appropriations for the Defense Department and huge profits for the contractors, which hire retired admirals and generals.”
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Ron Paul: More Work Ahead to Repeal Old War Authorizations

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) amendment that would repeal authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs) from 2001 and 2002 that successive presidents have perversely used to justify just about any military action a president wants to pursue across the world was tabled in the United States Senate by a vote of 61 to 36. This procedural vote prevented a vote on the actual bill and thus is in line with the Congress’ year-after-year practice of deferring to the executive branch regarding war instead of fulfilling the legislative branch’s constitutional power regarding the matter.
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New Senate Intelligence Authorization Bill Includes Language Threatening WikiLeaks

The Senate Intelligence Authorization Act (SB 1761), introduced Friday by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and already approved by the committee, concludes with a one sentence section — Section 623 — that appears to threaten WikiLeaks with potential harsh actions. The section categorizes the news organization, which helps expose information obtained from whistleblowers, as resembling "a non-state hostile intelligence service."
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Rep. John Duncan, Conservative Peace Proponent, Will Not Seek Reelection to US House

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) announced on Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2018 to the United States House of Representatives. In addition to being one of the longest-serving Republican members of the House (representing the second district of Tennessee since 1988), Duncan, who argues that being antiwar is a conservative position, is also one of the House’s strongest proponents for peace.

In his April of 2015 editorial “A Return to The Peace Party,” Duncan lamented the Republican Party drifting toward being a war-supporting party and argued that it should revert to its past position as the peace party. “When I was a teenager,” Duncan wrote, “I remember reading a publication from the Republican National Committee that said, ‘Democrats start wars, Republicans end them.’” Duncan wrote in the editorial that he not only thought the party’s shift toward hawkishness is wrong but also declared, “I think it is a recipe for defeat if my Republican party becomes known as a party favoring permanent, forever wars—war without end.”
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House Passes New Russia Sanctions, Pumps Adrenaline Into Cold War 2.0

Late this afternoon the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HR 3364, the "Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act." The vote was 419-3, with the only nays coming from Republicans Justin Amash (R-MI), John Duncan (R-TN), and Thomas Massie (R-KY). 

The bill adds additional sanctions on Russia as punishment for the as-yet-unproven claims that Moscow somehow interfered in US elections to help secure a victory for Donald Trump. It also seeks to punish Russia for its supposed involvement in Ukraine -- ignoring that unrest in Ukraine stems from the US-initiated coup against the democratically elected government of Yanukovich in 2014.

The legislation ties the president's hands in an unprecedented way, as should Trump decide in the course of his Constitutional authority as Executive to pursue a foreign policy requiring the canceling of sanctions he is not free to do so. He must write to Congress asking permission to end the sanctions and give convincing reason why Congress should agree. Congress then has 30 days to consider the President's request during which time he is forbidden from taking any action on the matter.
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Rep. Walter Jones to President Trump: 'Get Us Out of Afghanistan!'

Dear Mr. President: Many of us in the U.S. House of Representatives believe we have been denied our sacred duty to debate and declare war. You could say that I am disappointed by this. Disappointed because after 16 years in Afghanistan, Congress deserves another vote on this conflict. Disappointed because almost $1 trillion of taxpayers’ money has been spent with no direct goal or strategy. And most importantly, I am disappointed because we continue to lose American lives.


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US Senate to Take Off Less Time from Abusing Our Rights

Each year we could look forward to the traditional August recess for some relief from legislators in Washington, DC passing more laws to grow government at the expense of liberty. Not so much this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that this summer the United States Senate will stay in session for the first two weeks of its planned August recess.


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NATO 'Collective Defense'? These Brave US Reps Disagree

While Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Charter is inarguably non-binding on Member countries to use military force to defend other Members, that such a response is required has become an article of faith through repeated mis-interpretation of the Article. In fact, a careful reading of Article 5 makes it clear that other NATO Members are free to do nothing at all if another Member is attacked. A NATO Member is only bound to take "such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area." It may well be deemed necessary to ignore an attack on a NATO Member in many circumstances.
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Showdown: Senate 'Block Saudi Weapons Sale' Vote Tomorrow

The Senate is expected to vote as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon on a measure to disapprove of President Trump's announced deal to transfer half a billion dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. The bipartisan measure, introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), could lead to the Senate blocking the massive weapons sale, striking a serious blow to what the President touted as a major achievement of his first foreign trip last month.
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