Schiff Proposal Would Remove Congressional Oversight from Military for Domestic Police Action
House lawmakers this week voted in favor of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that removes lawmakers’ oversight capacity during some cases of domestic deployment.
The amendment was first introduced by California Rep. Adam Schiff (D) in 2020 in response to then-President Trump’s never-fulfilled threat to deploy the US Army to calm social justice protests. The proposal passed the House, but was eliminated during a House-Senate compromise in December 2021.
Republican lawmakers claim Schiff is re-introducing the proposal now in order to preemptively block their oversight abilities if the GOP wins Congressional majority in November.
If signed into law, the amendment could impact the resolution of the Jan. 6th hearings and Republicans’ planned investigation into the Biden Administration’s mishandling of the migrant crisis at the southern border.
“This un-American amendment will fundamentally and irreparably erode Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” argues Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). “Democrats led by Adam Schiff are attempting to cover up for the national security crises of the weakest commander in chief in US history.”
“I’m very concerned about it, and Republicans need to fight back against it in the House and Senate to make sure it doesn’t pass,” adds Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN).“Democrats know we are going to take back the majority and are already trying to tie our hands when we do.”
Lauren French, a spokesperson for Rep. Schiff, accused Republicans of misrepresenting the proposal.
“The measure prevents presidents, of any party, from unlawfully using our nation’s armed forces in a domestic law enforcement capacity against Americans exercising their constitutionally protected rights,” said French. “This is something both parties should support…This amendment deters violations of the law by prohibiting the use of unlawfully obtained evidence by the government in a court or other legal proceeding.”
Schiff’s amendment won support from the Brennan Center for Justice, which said it would “establish clear consequences to deter the government” from unlawfully deploying the military during civil law enforcement situations and suppress any evidence obtained during such events.
The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by House lawmakers this week, includes a total of 8 amendments authored by Rep. Schiff. In addition to the proposal discussed above, the 2023 proposal includes amendments seeking to:
- Force Azerbaijan to release Armenian POWs and civilians that were detained following the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Convince Iran to end its human rights violations and release political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
- Expand human rights protections for journalists.
- Review the implementation of a 2010 law designed to identify and criticize governments that silence media opposition.
- Honor the “Lost 74” (crew of the USS Frank E. Evans who perished during a training exercise in the South China Sea in 1969).
- Authorize military judges to make public military commission proceedings available online (including Guantanamo Bay).
Author’s Note: This is an irrational development. Congressional oversight is an integral part of the checks and balances system that keeps a government balanced. Reducing oversight means that presidential power could go unchecked.
And while we certainly do not want to encourage military deployment during law enforcement situations, removing oversight is just plain stupid.
Editor’s Note: The deployment of the military for domestic purposes is one of the most sensitive Constitutional issues, only to be done in dire emergencies. Why on God’s green earth would you want less oversight on something like this?