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Limiting Use of Funds for Armed Forces in Libya

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


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

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, when the President of the United States went to the United Nations Security Council to urge intervention in the Libyan civil war, he frankly missed a stop. He should have come here first, and this Congress should have debated the wisdom or lack thereof of that effort. Knowing what I know about this, had that debate taken place here, I would be one who would have voted against authorizing the use of force here because I do not believe we have a vital national security interest in the Libyan civil war.

I am going to oppose this resolution, however, because I think that two constitutional wrongs do not make a right. Again, I believe the President should have come here and sought the authorization of this Congress before he initiated these hostilities, and they are hostilities. But when we have people at risk, when we have lives on the line, I think this resolution raises a practical and a constitutional problem. The practical problem, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) alluded to a few minutes ago, and I can think of another variation. If a NATO ally is sending people into Libya on an intelligence-gathering function and asks us to provide air cover for that function, is that an intelligence operation or isn't it? I don't know, there's a good argument on either side, but it's an adjudication that I don't think a U.S. commander in the field ought to have to make. I think it's a practical confusion that does not serve us well when people are at risk.

Then, secondly, just as the President has the obligation, I believe, to seek approval of this body and the other one before he initiates hostilities, he also has the responsibility to conduct those affairs once they begin. Our role is to oversee and fund or not fund such activities, but it is not to interfere with them. I think this is an impractical interference; so I'm going to vote "no.''


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