The “Stupid Amendment”: Cross-Party votes on the US Institute of Peace

“I can’t believe what a stupid amendment this is.”

So spoke Rep. Sam Farr during debate regarding H.Amdt. 343, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Rep. Chip Cravaack which would not only defund the US Institute of Peace but abolish it altogether. The amendment simply reads:

“SEC. 12xx. REPEAL OF UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE ACT.

Effective as of the date of the enactment of this Act, the United States Institute of Peace Act (title XVII of Public Law 98-525; 22 U.S.C. 4601 et seq.) is repealed.”

Even if you find the intrinsic value of peace to be negligible, there’s a cost-savings case to be made for keeping the USIP. In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year, US Institute of Peace Richard H. Solomon explained that despite the organization’s $42 million per year price tag, it has saved the United States more than that much:

“Our efforts save lives and money. For example, our work on electoral violence prevention in Sudan just prior to the January referendum helped avert a civil war there. In Iraq, USIP negotiators mediated an agreement between warring parties in the district known as the ‘triangle of death.’ The agreement led to a reduction in U.S. troop fatalities from what had been up to 12 per month down to zero, and allowed the Army to redeploy two battalions, thus saving the taxpayers $2.2 billion per year in that area alone.”

With the large Republican majority in the House of Representatives Cravaack’s amendment passed; the vote to abolish the U.S. Institute of Peace fell largely along party lines. Should the National Defense Authorization Act be signed into law by President Barack Obama be signed into law, the U.S. Institute of Peace will blink out of existence. Rather than display the hundreds of votes of all members of Congress, most of them predictable, we share the names of those who voted in counterintuitive fashion:

Democrats who voted to abolish the U.S. Institute of Peace:

Rep. Jason Altmire
Rep. Dan Boren
Rep. Jim Cooper
Rep. John Dingell
Rep. Gene Green
Rep. Ron Kind
Rep. Jim Matheson
Rep. Mike McIntyre
Rep. William Owens
Rep. Mike Ross

Republicans who voted to preserve the U.S. Institute of Peace:

Rep. Tom Cole
Rep. Geoff Davis
Rep. Charles Dent
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
Rep. Blake Farenthold
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
Rep. Kay Granger
Rep. Nan Hayworth
Rep. Joe Heck
Rep. Walter Jones
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Steven LaTourette
Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Christopher Smith
Rep. Mac Thornberry
Rep. Edward Whitfield
Rep. Frank Wolf

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