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Public Statements

Libya War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JOHNSON of Illinois. Thank you, Mr. Kucinich, and thank you Members of the House.

This issue of war and peace and separation of powers transcends partisan politics. A few years ago, together with my good friend, Steve Israel, I began what's known as the Center Aisle Caucus, which has a large membership now. Our goal is bipartisan solutions to America's challenges, and this bill reflects that approach.

H. Con. Res. 51, on paper, addresses our illegal war in Libya; but, in spirit, it calls into question American presence in the Middle East, and it should command the attention of the national media, if you're listening, and every American citizen.

Today I issue a challenge to an often divided Congress. To my Democratic colleagues, I ask you to candidly acknowledge that war is war, even when a Democratic President initiates, or perpetuates, that war. To my Republican colleagues, I ask you to acknowledge that a sincere and effective attack on our crippling national debt, without defense spending squarely on the table, is indefensible and disingenuous.

To all of my colleagues, I ask you to acknowledge certain realities: one, our global warfare kills American men and women and innocent people all around the world every day.

Two, we cannot impose our standards of democracy, humanitarianism, and culture--as much as we want to--on nations that don't care and resent our self-proclaimed role as judge and jury.

Three, there is little, if any, connection between our actions in Libya and the safety of citizens in St. Louis, Missouri, or Mount Zion, Illinois. We spend almost $700 billion a year on defense, a significant portion of that for three wars.

Three days ago, we voted on the issue of whether to increase our national debt limit to nearly $17 trillion. From President Bush to President Obama, and well before, Presidents have flagrantly and arrogantly violated article I, section 8 of the Constitution, not to mention the War Powers Act.

The Speaker's resolution that we will vote on here in a few moments was strongly worded--and I believe sincerely offered--but it was just that: words. It is not and should not be a cover for any Member of this Chamber to fail to support the Kucinich bill, which puts teeth, real teeth, into congressional prerogatives.

Support the Constitution, support fiscal responsibility, and support peace. Support the Kucinich resolution.


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