A Virginia lawmaker is asking the Pentagon to look at how upcoming Metro fixes, expected to shut down parts of major lines for weeks, would affect the large military presence in the D.C. area.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., has introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the defense secretary to submit a report to Congress on how a total or partial metro shutdown would affect Defense Department employees and military installations in the D.C. area.
"Metro's proposed Safe Track Plan is bitter medicine but necessary to reverse the decades-long neglect of basic maintenance and safety. It will affect all federal agencies, especially defense installations around the region," Connolly told the Washington Examiner in a statement. "Our amendment will, at a minimum, ensure the Department of Defense is preparing for service disruptions and Metrorail shutdowns by expanding telework opportunities and adopting other mitigation efforts to maintain a continuity of operations."
Connolly's amendent is one of 367 amendments lawmakers have introduced to the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill, which the House is expected to debate this week. The House Rules Committee has yet to decide which amendments are in order, so it's unclear which will actually be debated.
Debate about the National Defense Authorization Act on the House floor gives lawmakers who aren't part of the armed services committee a chance to have a hand in a range of defense issues, from projects that affect their individual home distracts to broad national conversations, like the debate over whether women should have to register for the draft.
Lawmakers have offered several amendments aimed at getting a new Islamic State-specific authorization for the use of military force, though the effort to do so on Capitol Hill has failed several times before. Some of the proposals include:
- Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., introduced an amendment that would repeal prior authorizations automatically 90 days after the defense bill becomes law.
- Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., also introduced an amendment that would end funding for U.S. troops operating in Iraq or Syria after April 30, 2017, unless lawmakers agree to a new war authorization before then.
- Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., proposed an authorization to fight the Islamic State that would last three years and repeal the 2002 authorization for the war in Iraq.
- An authorization from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., would allow military action against al Qaida, the Islamic State and the Taliban for three years.
- An amendment from Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., would make the cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria public, requiring them to be posted on the Defense Department's public web site.
There are also several amendments that have been submitted that relate to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, including one from Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., that would take away all the Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention's funds authorized for fiscal 2017 if any detainees released after Jan. 1, 2015, show up on a list of those who have engaged in terrorism after their release.
A major fight is likely brewing over whether Congress should require women to register with the Selective Service now that the ban on female troops in combat has been lifted. An amendment from Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., would repeal the Selective Service entirely, while one from Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, would simply remove the language mandating that women sign up for the draft.
Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., does not go so far as to get rid of the draft entirely, but proposed a sense of Congress that the United States will rely on an all-volunteer military "unless the survival of the United States is at stake."