A Democratic U.S. senator said on Tuesday he would try to make it illegal for President Donald Trump to use the military against protesters, after days of demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died as a white policeman kneeled on his neck.
Trump has threatened to deploy the armed forces, after clashes between police and protesters and looting in some cities.
Senator Tim Kaine said he would introduce an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a massive bill setting policy for the Pentagon, which the Senate will be considering over the coming weeks.
“I never thought we would have to use the NDAA to make clear that the U.S. military shouldn’t be used as an agent of force against American citizens who are lawfully assembling,” Kaine said.
The NDAA, which determines how the Pentagon spends its money – this year $730 billion – is one of the few pieces of major legislation that passes every year. The bill governs everything from soldiers’ pay rates to how many fighter jets are bought to which bases are closed.
Since it is seen as “must-pass” legislation, members of Congress also typically use the NDAA as a vehicle for a wide range of policy matters. For example, this year’s bill is expected to address the novel coronavirus crisis and dealings with China.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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