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Providing for Consideration of H. Res. 292, Regarding Deployment of United States Armed Forces in Libya, and Providing for Consideration of H. Con. Res. 51, Libya War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


(Mr. ANDREWS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, because the Constitution vests the authority to declare war in the Congress, I oppose the administration's decision to dispatch American troops into hostilities in Libya without coming here first. I think that was an error. But because I take those constitutional obligations very seriously and because each of us should take them very seriously, I oppose this rule and the underlying resolution from Speaker Boehner.

I find it ironic that, at a time when the institution is trying to assert its rightful constitutional place, the Speaker has proposed a resolution which is wholly ineffective and purely symbolic. This resolution pursues a gravely important objective in a rather frivolous and ineffective way.

If we believe that the conduct of a military operation is inappropriate for the country, there are tools available to us under the Constitution. Each one of those tools, whether it involves ceasing appropriations or involves other types of remedies, requires the consent of both the House and the Senate. To be effective, we must be bicameral. And to be bicameral, we have to put a resolution on the floor, the passage of which would lead to consideration by the Senate. The Boehner resolution, by its own terms, does not do that.

So the question the Members ought to be asking themselves here, whether they are for or against the incursion in Libya, whether they think it should cease or continue, is: What is the effect of passing the Boehner resolution?

As a practical and legal matter, the effect is nothing--nothing. All of the items the President would be directed to do, any of the steps the President would be prohibited from taking are meaningless if the Boehner resolution passes because the Boehner resolution does not contemplate being considered by the Senate.

So I would offer this to Members, that if they are looking for a resolution that, in fact, has effect and meaning, Mr. Kucinich's resolution has real effect and meaning because it is a due exercise of the constitutional authority of the Congress.

The Speaker's resolution, which I take certainly in good faith, has none of that effectiveness and none of that practical consequence. So I would urge a "no'' vote on the rule precisely because of the principle of congressional authority.

If you believe that we should exercise our constitutional authority, then let's really exercise it. Let's put something before the body that has real and practical meaning.

I would urge a "no'' vote.


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