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Congresswoman Escobar Amendment to Provide Transparency in Congressional Notification for Use of Military Force in the U.S. Passes House of Representatives

Washington, D.C., July 20, 2020

Today, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 215 to 190 an amendment offered by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), member of the House Armed Services Committee, to H.R. 6395, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. The NDAA is a strong bipartisan bill that honors America’s values, strengthens our security, advances America’s leadership in the world, and delivers big wins for Fort Bliss and El Paso. 

Congresswoman Escobar’s amendment closes a loophole in Congressional notification when military force is used in the United States, creating accountability to Congress whenever a President uses military force domestically. This amendment was modeled after U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal’s (D-CT) CIVIL Act introduced on June 4, 2020, after President Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy active-duty troops against the American people peacefully protesting the brutal killing of George Floyd and systemic racism.

“For over 200 years, Presidents have had the authority to send the military into American communities at times of unrest. This rarely invoked presidential power is intended to restore peace and protect Americans,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “Unfortunately, as peaceful protestors took to the streets to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality, President Trump politicized our military forces and threatened to use them to violate Americans’ First Amendment right of free speech. I’m proud that Congress took action to address this unchecked power and provide the accountability our nation deserves.”

“The Senate must join in this reform— making the President accountable to Congress whenever he uses American military force against Americans,” said Senator Blumenthal. “As the President escalates his threats against fundamental freedoms, accountability is all the more urgent. Our American military should defend our liberties, not endanger them— misdirected by a misguided President.”

The amendment was co-sponsored by Representatives Ilhan Omar (MN-05), David Cicilline (RI-01), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), and Raul Grijalva (AZ-03).

View Congresswoman Escobar’s floor remarks offering the amendment here.

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