Hearing of the House Rules Committee - Conyers Libya Amendment

Statement

By:  John Conyers, Jr.
Date: April 12, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Chairman Dreier, Ranking-Member Slaughter, and Members of the Committee:

I appreciate the opportunity to testify today on my amendment, which will prevent appropriated funds from being used to fund any type of ground combat operations in Libyan territory. My amendment is simply a common sense effort to codify the policy endorsed by President Obama and the international community and thereby ensure that our involvement in Libya remains limited in scope. I am proud to report that my amendment enjoys bipartisan support, including the endorsement of my colleagues Representatives Yvette Clarke, Cohen, Duncan, Jones, Farr, Grijalva, Honda, Kucinich, Lee, McClintock, McGovern, George Miller, Stark, Tonka, Welch, and Woolsey.

Specifically, my amendment would prevent funds from being used to deploy, establish, or maintain a presence of Members of the Armed Services or private security contractors on the ground in Libya. I also want to clearly state that my amendment would allow for the rescue of Members of the Armed Services who might be participating in the current NATO no-fly zone operation.

There is no domestic or international authority allowing for an escalation of hostilities that would put boots on the ground in Libya. The President has promised the American people that our military operations will not include ground troops. U.N. Resolution 1973 also states that military operations.in Libya will exclude "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory." In short, my amendment does not conflict with the President's policy- it would simply enact his promise into law.

The time is now for Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to place boundaries on the use of our military overseas and definitively state that this conflict in Libya will not escalate into an expensive occupation that places our troops in harms way.

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify on my amendment.