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Rep. Miller Statement Regarding Today's Libya resolutions in Congress


Location: Washington, DC

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) issued the following statement in opposition to two resolutions concerning Libya that were considered, and defeated, in the House today.

"Today, I voted against two resolutions regarding U.S. military participation in the NATO operation in Libya, and both were defeated in the House. Neither was a serious effort to clearly define and debate the U.S. role in Libya and neither was intended to pass in the first place.

"One resolution offered far too broad of an authorization for U.S. military action, and the other prescribed far too limited a role.

"I believe President Obama was correct to have American forces join with NATO in its effort to stop a humanitarian crisis in Libya, and I believe NATO continues to have a strong rationale for preventing a substantial loss of life in Libya, as Qadafi and his forces have made clear their intent to indiscriminately kill opponents of his dictatorship.

"But I also I believe his actions, beginning in March, triggered the War Powers Act and required him to seek an authorization from Congress. At that time I said that I believed Congress most likely would have granted him the authority to participate in the NATO operation. But he never asked for authorization. And last week he made a spurious argument that U.S. actions in Libya did not trigger the War Powers Act. He has few supporters for this claim.

"It is incumbent on the President to make a clear and convincing case to Congress about the U.S. mission in Libya and to ask for a narrow and carefully drawn resolution authorizing a limited action. He has not done that and a proper resolution has not been brought before Congress for our careful consideration and debate. As a result, I voted against the sloppily drafted resolution to provide a one-year authorization for U.S. military actions in Libya.

"I take Congress' constitutional power to declare war very seriously and I do not believe it was adequately respected in this case. I came to Congress in the wake of the Vietnam War, the war that led to the creation of the War Powers Act in the first place, which is intended to carefully limit a president's use of American forces in combat without congressional authority.

"Neither resolution today was serious and neither deserved my support. The process does not satisfy those of us who believe the War Powers Act was violated and who seek to have that Act affirmed by our President and by Congress.

"The President and Congress owe it to the American people and our men and women in uniform to clearly define and then carefully debate our mission in Libya. Regrettably, that has not occurred."

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