US Senate Passes Massive $662 Billion Defense Spending Bill

The United States Senate on Thursday passed a massive $662 billion defense spending bill that brings with it various sanctions, harsher treatment of suspected terrorists and more.

Under the bill the U.S. plans to issue crippling sanctions against Iran in the hopes of choking off finances to the country by marking their entire banking sector as a “primary money laundering concern.” By marking the Iran banking system in such a way the US and other international banks will closely monitor transactions and deny fund transfers from the countries lending institutions.

Sanctions against Iran were met with a 100-0 unanimous vote despite the possibility that gas prices could be pushed up in the United States because of the tighting control over Iran’s finances.

Speaking about sanctions against Iraq Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) noted:

“Iran’s actions are unacceptable and pose a danger to the United States and the entire world,” and “Iran supports terrorist groups, arms the killers of American soldiers, lies about its nuclear program, violates its citizens’ basic rights and threatens Israel’s security.”

The bill will also allow the U.S. military to hold suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial even if they are captures on US soil and if they are American citizens.

Because of the bills ramped up security against “possible” terrorists the White House has already threatened to veto the bill. The White House issued the following statement:

“Applying this military custody requirement to individuals inside the US would raise serious legal questions, and would be inconsistent with the fundamental American principle that our military does not patrol our streets.”

The terrorist section of the bill would also require that all terrorists linked to al-Qaeda and their affiliates be placed under direct military custody, while American citizens would be exempt from such military holdings control.

The bill has managed to anger civil rights groups, including the the senior legislative counsel for the ACLU who revealed:

“Since the bill puts military detention authority on steroids and makes it permanent, American citizens are at greater risk of being locked away by the military without charge or trial if this bill becomes law.”

It’s not just the American Civil Liberties Union that opposes more military control over terrorist suspects, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also opposed the bill as did FBI Director Robert Mueller who both said the bill “challenges or constrains the president’s authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the nation.”

The section of the bill authorizing money for military personnel, weapons systems, national security programs in the Energy Department and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 was met with a vote of 93-7.

It should be noted that the bill is $27 billion less than President Obama requests and $43billion less than what Congress awards to the Pentagon in the 2010 fiscal year.

As of Thursday the White House has said the threat of a veto still stands if the bill remains in it’s current state.

Do you think the U.S. Senate has overstepped their bounds is the treatment of potential terrorists? Would you pay more for gas at the pump if it meant constraining the power of Iran?

[Image via]