Franken votes against defense policy bill

WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken voted against a defense policy and funding bill Thursday because of a controversial detention provision that many liberals and some conservatives have opposed on civil liberty grounds.

In a statement, Franken said the provision allowing the United States government to indefinitely detain Americans suspected of terrorism was “unacceptable.” In November he argued that an earlier version of the provision “denigrates the very foundations of this country. It denigrates the Bill of Rights. It denigrates what our Founders intended when they created a civilian-non-military-justice system for trying and punishing people for crimes committed on U.S. soil.”

Franken voted for the original Senate defense bill and said Thursday that he’d hoped the detention provisions would be changed significantly. A committee made up of House and Senate members eventually tweaked the provision just enough to gain support from President Obama. Seven Democrats and six conservative Republicans and voted against the final version of the bill.

The Senate passed the defense bill 86-13 on Thursday afternoon. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar voted in favor of the bill. The House passed the bill 283-136 on Wednesday. Democrats Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum voted against the bill, chiefly because of the detention provisions as well.

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/15/2011 - 08:25 pm.

    I’m glad Minnesota has at least one Democrat in the Senate.

  2. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 12/15/2011 - 11:40 pm.

    I’m not surprised Amy Klobuchar voted for this blatantly unconstitutional bill. She’s always been one to believe that giving the government more power will somehow make everything okay, but history has shown in every instance that any new power granted to the government will be, and has been, abused.

    Amy wants everyone to believe that there’s a terrorist around every corner, and that only by giving the government new Orwellian powers can we be safe from those scary terrorists.

    For someone who claims to believe in the Rule of Law, she certainly hasn’t demonstrated that with her vote her, as well as on other defense issues.

    I wouldn’t vote for her.

  3. Submitted by Jim Roth on 12/16/2011 - 12:34 pm.

    Ho hum,just another day in Washington and another significant erosion of civil rights and liberties… While mildly encouraging that three Minnesota politicians had the courage to vote against it, obviously the others didn’t. What was that I heard about Bill of Rights Day?

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/16/2011 - 03:02 pm.

    “…Betty McCollum voted against the bill, chiefly because of the detention provisions as well.”

    Or more likely because that’s what whom ever’s belt loop she was assigned to hold on to today told her to do. “It’s red button day today Betty…go ahead and push it. Yaaaaay!”

  5. Submitted by Sue Halligan on 12/16/2011 - 06:18 pm.

    Way to go,Al!!! Amy, WTF?

  6. Submitted by Deb Geelsdottir on 12/16/2011 - 07:02 pm.

    Yay Franken. And Keith and Betty.

    As Sue said, “Amy, WTF?”

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