International Affairs, Regional Political Affairs, East Asia & the Pacific, Military Personnel & Veterans, General Policy, National Security, U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Specific Races & Districts
Military Personnel & Veterans, Military Grievances & Discipline, International Affairs, General Policy, Law & Justice, and Judicial Jurisdiction
Lawmakers in 2000 cleared a measure (S 768—PL 106-523) intended to close a loophole that allowed American citizens who committed crimes overseas to escape U.S. prosecution. The bill allowed civilians connected with the armed forces to be prosecuted under federal criminal or military law. Prosecution of suspects would be at the discretion of the host nation. If such a crime were committed in the United States and punishable by more than a year's imprisonment, the overseas offender would be subject to prosecution by a military court, if the military chose to act, or to federal criminal prosecution.
Military Personnel & Veterans, General Policy, National Security, U.S. Congress & Politics, Congress at Work, and General
I must confess that I have not really exerted myself as much as I might have in an effort to control the military. Actually, I have been under the feeling that it was useless and utterly futile, that nothing could be done, for example, to cut an appropriation for the Defense Department no matter what I did.... The Congress simply does not review or investigate or exercise control over defense spending.
Members of Congress expressed their outrage and disgust in 2004 when photos became public showing U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at the U.S. military's Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. The startling pictures showed some detainees stripped naked, covered with hoods, and threatened with electrocution.
Environment & Natural Resources, Resources Management, Parks & Recreation, Military Personnel & Veterans, and Military History & Honors
Congress cleared legislation (HR 1944—PL 103-197) in 1993 authorizing $8 million to develop a national park in the U.S. territory of Guam and build a memorial there. The memorial was to be dedicated to the U.S. forces who liberated Guam during World War II and to the people of Guam who suffered under the Japanese occupation from Dec. 8, 1941, to Aug. 10, 1944. The goal was to have the monument completed by July 21, 1994, the fiftieth anniversary of the Marianas Campaign, in which U.S. forces liberated Guam. HR 1944 was reported by the House Natural Resources Committee (H Rept 103-145) on June 21, 1993, and was passed by the House by voice vote later that day. An amended version was reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (S Rept 103-98) on July 16 and passed by voice vote of the Senate July 21. The House approved a compromise version by voice vote on Nov. 21, and the Senate cleared the bill the next day. President Clinton signed the measure Dec. 17.
Immigration, International Affairs, Immigration & Naturalization, Military Personnel & Veterans, Defense Personnel, General, National Security, and General Policy
Congress in 1991 cleared legislation (S 296 — PL 102-110) that gave resident alien status to foreigners who served in the U.S. armed forces. Those who were serving at least a second six-year tour or who had been honorably discharged after 12 or more years of duty were eligible to become resident aliens and U.S. citizens.
International Affairs, Regional Political Affairs, Middle East & South Asia, Military Personnel & Veterans, Veterans, and General
The House in 1994 easily passed legislation (HR 3221) to set up a system to distribute approximately $1.2 billion in Iraqi assets that the United States froze when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. But the measure, sought by the Clinton administration, stalled in the Senate, where key senators objected that the House-passed bill gave insufficient priority to the claims of U.S. businesses and private citizens. Without legislative action, the funds remained frozen.
Military Personnel & Veterans and Military History & Honors
Congress in 1993 cleared legislation (HR 3341—PL 103-161) to increase from $200 to $400 the monthly stipend to living veterans who had won the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military decoration, awarded by Congress for gallantry at the risk of life beyond the call of duty.
Law & Justice, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, & Individual Rights, Claims against the Government, Military Personnel & Veterans, and Military Grievances & Discipline
The House in 1989, as it had in 1985 and 1988, passed legislation to permit full-time military personnel to sue the federal government for medical malpractice. HR 536 permitted damage claims for injuries or death arising from care furnished at a military facility in the United States. (Earlier action, Congress and the Nation Vol. VII, pp. 746, 784; 102nd Congress action, p. 798)
Federal Budget & Tax Policy, FY1992 Budget Development, Military Personnel & Veterans, Defense Personnel, General, National Security, and Defense Budget
Extraordinary events in the world bolstered and buffeted U.S. defense policy in 1991. In the end, however, Congress cleared a fiscal 1992 defense authorization bill (HR 2100 — PL 102-190) that made no significant reduction in the $291 billion defense budget President Bush had requested.
Employment, Labor, & Pensions, Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination, General, Housing & Development, Housing, Fair Housing & Housing for Special Groups, Military Personnel & Veterans, and Reserves & National Guard
With lawmakers eager to show their desire to help U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf, Congress early in 1991 approved legislation (HR 555 — PL 102-12) to increase financial and civil protections for reservists called to active duty.
General Government & Civil Service, Civil Service, Pay & Benefits, Military Personnel & Veterans, Defense Personnel, and Civilian Employees
Legislation (HR 3209) died at the end of the 102nd Congress that would compensate federal and U.S. Postal Service employees who were called to active duty during the 1991 Persian Gulf War for the difference between their government salaries and their military pay. The money would come from funds already appropriated to the agencies. (Gulf war, special report, p. 299)
Intelligence, Terrorism, & Counterterrorism, Military Personnel & Veterans, Military Grievances & Discipline, and National Security
In a move to trim costs and improve the output of the U.S. global intelligence system, President Nixon Nov. 5, 1971, disclosed details of a reorganization plan he had ordered for the nation's intelligence program. The plan contained the following changes:It gave authority to Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence, to review the budgets of the CIA, the FBI, units within the Defense and State Departments and the Atomic Energy Commission. It was believed $1-billion could be cut from the $5-billion to $6-billion the U.S. spent yearly to ascertain Soviet and Chinese Communist military developments.It created a new intelligence subcommittee under the National Security Council to tailor the results of the nation's vast overseas intelligence network closer to the needs of the President and his top staff.It created a 'net assessment group' inside the National Security Council to compare over-all U.S.S.R. forces and capabilities with those of the U.S.It created an Intelligence Resources Advisory Committee headed by Helms to advise on the preparation of a consolidated program budget. This would permit Helms to see the Department of Defense intelligence budget—estimated to be 80 per cent of everything the U.S. spent for intelligence—and advise on it before its submission to Congress.
General Government & Civil Service, Civil Service, General, Law & Justice, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, & Individual Rights, Claims against the Government, Military Personnel & Veterans, and Military Grievances & Discipline
Legislation enacted in 1988 (HR 3685 — PL 100-565) increased, to $40,000 from $25,000, the maximum amount the federal government could pay to settle claims filed by U.S. military or civilian government personnel. Such claims covered the loss of property during government service. HR 3685 amended a 1964 law that established the process for paying claims by the government. That law had beenamended several times. In 1980, in response to the Iran hostage crisis, Congress amended the law to allow government officials who were targets of hostile actions abroad to collect up to $40,000. The most recent previous revision of the law was made in 1983. HR 3685 was passed by the House Oct. 5, 1988 (H Rept 100-1037), and by the Senate without amendment Oct. 14, completing congressional action.