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Libya War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SHERMAN. Madam Speaker, the author of this resolution is known for his opposition to the use of American military force, and those who agree with him on foreign policy may well vote for this resolution. In contrast, I have voted for every authorization to use military force that has come before this Congress in the last 15 years, and I would support the authorization to use force in Libya if it had the proper conditions and limits.

This resolution would not actually result in the immediate withdrawal; instead, it would force the President to come to this Congress and seek authorization pursuant to law--and would get that authorization, I believe, with the appropriate limits and conditions. That would be an improvement to our foreign policy. More importantly, it would mean we're following the Constitution. The War Powers Act is the law of the land and it requires congressional authorization for military actions that take more than 60 days.

We long for democracy and the rule of law in Libya, but not at the expense of democracy and the rule of law in the United States. If we don't require compliance with the War Powers Act, who will? And if the War Powers Act becomes a dead letter, who will constrain some future President with imperial ambitions?

If your constituents insist that you stand up for the rule of law, don't go back to them next week saying you voted for the Boehner resolution. That Boehner resolution does not mention--let alone enforce--the War Powers Act.

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Mr. SHERMAN. The Boehner resolution just grudgingly acquiesces to an imperial vision of the Presidency. The Kucinich resolution enforces the War Powers Act and starts us on the War Powers Act process.

We owe it to our fighting men and women that when they risk their lives, they do so pursuant to our laws and our Constitution. And when they risk their lives for an extended period of time, they do so not because of the decision of one individual but, rather, because of the decision of the representatives of all of the American people.

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