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Public Statements

Regarding Deployment of United States Armed Forces in Libya

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JORDAN of Ohio. Madam Speaker, more than two months after stating that our military action in Libya would be over in ``days, not weeks,'' President Obama has yet to explain to the American people what our mission in Libya is, how it will be conducted, and when it will be completed. He has failed to explain how our military involvement in Libya fits with our policy interests in the Middle East and northern Africa. Most importantly, he has ignored his constitutional responsibility to uphold federal law by choosing not to acquire authorization from Congress for our involvement there.

That is why I cosponsored Mr. Turner's resolution disapproving of the President's actions, and that is why I joined my House colleagues today in demanding action from the President.

The President must follow the law and seek approval for this military action from Congress. In doing so, he must explain some basic facts, such as whether the removal of Moammar Qaddafi is part of the mission, how stability will be promoted in the region if Qaddafi is removed from power, and who among the anti-Qaddafi forces in Libya should be supported in the event that he is removed.

Instead of following the clear path of seeking congressional approval as outlined in federal law, the President unilaterally escalated our military efforts in Libya after assuring us they would be scaled back. Now, some in the Obama administration are saying we should put boots on the ground in support of further NATO actions. This is the opposite of what the President promised and contrary to the will of the House.

Congress appropriately shows a certain deference to the commander-in-chief when it comes to national security decisions, as we must always have the ability to quickly respond to threats to our sovereignty and our interests around the world. Further, Congress must not direct troop movements or set timelines for our military operations, as such decisions should be left to our highly skilled commanders on the ground. But our deference is contingent upon the President respecting the Founders' intent for the primary role of Congress in providing for our defense and security needs. It does not change the fact that the President is obliged to seek congressional approval and to explain how our mission in Libya is vital to our national security.

The brave men and women in our armed forces, as always, are performing their duties with the greatest expertise and professionalism of any military in the world. The issue at hand is the failure of the President to seek congressional approval required by law, and the failure of the President to tell Congress and the American people the details of our mission.

The American people will always stand with those who seek freedom and self-determination. Today's vote reaffirms that it is vital the President obey the rule of law in doing so.


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