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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Mark Sanford released the following statement regarding his vote for H.R. 4870, the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill:

“Last week, the House passed the next in the series of twelve spending bills for 2015 – the Department of Defense appropriations bill, which lays out how to spend the $570 billion that the House authorized a few weeks ago in the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Sanford. “I ultimately supported this measure because the final price tag came in at the budget spending caps for next year. That being said, I think some of the more interesting pieces here were two amendments that were offered.”

“First, in an encouraging win for liberty, an amendment on NSA surveillance reform that I co-sponsored passed 293-123,” continued Sanford. “It would do two things – close a loophole that allows the government to conduct a warrantless search for an American’s electronic information stored outside the country, and block the government from requesting a “backdoor” into private technology companies’ files. Both are important steps in the ongoing fight to rein in abuses of power at the National Security Agency, and I was glad to see it pass with such bipartisan support.”

“Second was another amendment I co-sponsored that did not pass – this one to set an expiration date on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF),” added Sanford. “The AUMF cedes too much authority to the executive branch to determine our involvement in other countries’ conflicts without ongoing Congressional consultation and oversight. Given that we have spent over $1.5 trillion on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, lost thousands of American lives, and are now facing new questions on the crisis in Iraq, I think Congress ought to carefully consider how best to reset their Constitutionally mandated responsibility of true advice and consent as it relates to the use of force. To continue without this amendment is to continue unilateral executive branch action in putting men and women into harm’s way, and I think this is a mistake.”

“Ultimately, there were a number of things to support in this bill, and while I wish it had gone further in protecting individual liberties and restoring checks and balances between the different branches of government, it was a good step toward getting us back toward an annual process of debating and passing spending bills.”

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