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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, the President says we have gone to war in the name of humanity. In other words, the President's little war in Libya is so that we can preserve humanity in Libya.

In the history of peoples, as the gentleman from California has pointed out, and the histories of countries, it has always been the king, the dictator, the tyrant, the chief, the leader that has sent that particular country to war.

So when our ancestors got together and they formed a new and perfect Union, they decided it would not be the leader, which we call the President, it would be the people that would decide if we went to war. They gave that power to the Congress of the United States and only Congress can declare war, not the President.

But this is the President's war; and the President, in my opinion, is in violation of the Constitution. He has led America to our third war. Whether or not the war powers resolution is constitutional or not, we can debate that. But he is in violation of it, too, because we're still engaged in war, whether you call it hostilities or not. Some say it's not hostile. Well, you be one of the recipients of one of those cruise missiles on the ground somewhere in Libya, and you might think that's a hostile environment towards you. But this country is spending money on a third war, and it is unconstitutional.

Our ancestors had comments about the leader, the king, leading us into war. The writer of the Constitution wrote a letter. James Madison said that ``the Constitution supposes what the history of all governments has always demonstrated, that it is the executive branch most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question in this country of war in the legislative body.''

The first Commander in Chief, the first President of the United States, George Washington, said that ``the Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress, therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated upon the subject and Congress has authorized such a measure.''

It is our history, it is our heritage, it is our Constitution, and it is our principle that Congress must declare war, Congress must be the one to engage in war. And in my opinion, the President has violated that Constitution. He has violated the law of the land and the war powers resolution; and it's Congress' duty now, it is our turn and it is our responsibility to weigh in on this war and stop money from going to this war.

Where the President got the $700-plus million that has already been spent on this war, we don't know. We just want to make sure no more money is spent on this unconstitutional action.

Muammar Qadhafi is a tyrant. He's an outlaw. There are a lot of bad guys in the world, Mr. Chairman, and is it now the policy of the President to pick out the ones he does not like and start blowing up that country in the name of humanity? We don't know.

So Congress must resume, regain, its rightful authority and role and make sure that we do not fund the President's little war, or any other future wars, without congressional approval.

Mr. Chairman, instead of spending money blowing up Libya, we ought to spend that American taxpayer money in the United States building the United States and rebuilding America and not destroying somebody else's country and being involved in somebody else's civil war.

And that's just the way it is.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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