Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

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Anti-torture amendments added to defense spending bill

Dear Friends,

Last night, by a vote of 90 to 9, the U.S. Senate passed Senator John McCain's amendment #1977 requiring humane treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Its passage means that the amendment is attached to the defense spending bill for 2006, which the Senate is sure to pass. Thank you to everyone who contacted President Bush, Senator Frist, and your senators urging their support for this much-needed amendment. Please thank your senators who voted in favor, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. In the interest of brevity, we list the few who did not vote in favor: Senator Corzine of New Jersey did not vote, and Senators Allard (CO), Bond (MO), Coburn (OK), Cochran (MS), Cornyn (TX), Inhofe (OK), Roberts (KS), Sessions (AL), and Stevens (AK) all voted Nay. Find contact information for your senators at http://www.senate.gov.

Despite the amendment's overwhelming support in the Senate, it faces an uphill battle before it becomes law. No anti-torture amendment was attached to the House defense spending bill, so a House-and-Senate conference committee (conferees not yet named) must meet to decide the amendment's fate. IF the conferees attach the amendment to the final bill AND it passes both the House and the Senate, President Bush may still carry out his threat to veto the bill.

We'll send another alert within a few weeks with suggestions for how you can help ensure that the amendment becomes law and all detainees in U.S. custody receive humane treatment.

Thanks for all you do.