Tuesday May 24, 2011 | 07:34 AM

Rep. Chellie Pingree, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said she will vote against a major defense bill this week, charging it gives the president too much power to use military force without congressional approval and continues to spend too much money on the war in Afghanistan.

The Maine Democrat says in a statement this morning that the National Defense Authorization Act, expected to be voted on by the full House on Wednesday, hands the president a “blank check” to use “military force at any time, in any place, against anyone as long as the president claims it’s part of the war on terror.”
The issue is front and center currently as the U.S. continues military action in Libya and lawmakers debate whether or not President Obama needs congressional authorization to do so.
Pingree also decries the bill’s $15 billion in new money for the war in Afghanistan.

“That war in Afghanistan is costing $10 million an hour and has cost the lives of over fifteen hundred American men and women,” Pingree said. “That is too high a price for a war that isn’t making America any safer.”

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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