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House passes military commissions bill as Senate limits debate ahead of vote

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives approved its version of the controversial military commissions [JURIST news archive] bill [HR 6166 text] Wednesday by a margin of 253-168 [roll call] with 160 Democrats voting against the legislation. After passage, Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) [official website] combatively commended fellow Republicans for their efforts [press release] in pushing the legislation through:

House Republicans have worked hard to create a system that will protect our troops on the battlefield, while also conforming to international laws and treaty obligations. This is not enough for the Democrats who continue to support rights for terrorists. In fact, Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 159 of her Democrat colleagues voted today in favor of MORE rights for terrorists. So the same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedom worldwide would be coddled, if we followed the Democrat plan.
Meanwhile, the US Senate Wednesday prepared to pass its version [S 3930 text] of the military commissions bill after agreeing to limit debate on the legislation to ensure a floor vote. Last Thursday, senior Senate Republicans reached a deal [JURIST report] with the White House on key provisions of the legislation that subsequently sparked outrage [JURIST report] from various rights groups, military lawyers, and legal scholars. US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [JURIST news archive] and four Democrats have proposed amendments to the current Senate bill intended to shore up the legal rights of detainees, none of which are expected to garner approval. Specter has publicly questioned [JURIST report] whether the restrictions on habeas corpus in the Senate measure are constitutional. AP has more.

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