Washington (CNN)The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to prevent the military and all other government agencies from using torture during interrogations of prisoners, codifying a ban President Barack Obama issued by executive order shortly after he was sworn in.
The amendment to the annual defense policy bill passed 78-21, with only Republicans voting against it.
It would expand to the entire government a 2005 law, the Detainee Treatment Act, which banned the military from engaging in torture. It would also require the International Committee of the Red Cross to have access to prisoners being held by the U.S. government.
"Current law already bans torture, as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee and a sponsor of the amendment. Despite that, Feinstein said President George W. Bush's administration used "deeply flawed legal theory" to justify the use of torture, essentially going around the law.