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Public Statements

Introducing the "Syria Non-Intervention Act of 2012"

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the Administration is marching toward another war in the Middle East, this time against Syria. As with the president's war against Libya, Congress has been frozen out of the process. The Constitution, which grants Congress and only Congress the authority to declare war, is once again being completely ignored.

The push for a U.S. attack on Syria makes no sense, is not in our interest, and will likely make matters worse. Yet the Administration, after transferring equipment to the Syrian rebels and facilitating the shipment of weapons from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, has indicated that its plans for an actual invasion are complete.

This week there are even press reports that the Central Intelligence Agency is distributing assault rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers, and other ammunition to the Syrian opposition. These are acts of war by the United States government. But where is the authority for the president to commit acts of war against Syria? There is no authority. The president is acting on his own.

Today we are introducing legislation to prevent the administration from accelerating its plan to overthrow the Syrian government by assisting rebel forces that even the administration admits include violent Islamic extremists.

The bill is simple. It states that absent a Congressional declaration of war on Syria:

``No funds available to the Department of Defense or an element of the intelligence community may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Syria by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual.''

This legislation is modeled after the famous Boland Amendments of the early 1980s that were designed to limit the president's assistance to the Contras in their attempt to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. Congress has an obligation to exercise oversight of the president's foreign policy actions and to protect its constitutional prerogatives. This legislation will achieve both important functions.

Mr. Speaker, the last thing this country needs is yet another war particularly in the Middle East. Even worse is the president once again ignoring the Legislative Branch and going to war on his own. I hope my colleagues will join me in standing up for our Constitutional authority and resisting what will be another disastrous war in the Middle East.


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