Ron Paul Slams Absurd Libya War Powers Debate


Ron Paul: I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. Mr. Speaker, later this morning, we will be debating and voting on two resolutions dealing with Libya. The first one, H.J. RES. 68, has been said to be one that literally endorses exactly what the President has being doing, and I agree with that. Even though it excludes ground troops, it doesn’t talk about Special Forces, CIA, contractors, and unlimited bombing, which is really what we have to restrict. But the second one, HR2278, has been said to be more strongly worded in restraint on the President, and this is where I disagree. I believe the wording is different and it says no funds for ground troops, but then it has exceptions, and the exceptions are for all the things that we’re already doing. So I believe if we vote and pass the second one, it will be the first time this Congress has given authority to the president for what he is doing right now. So I urge my colleagues to look at both of these resolutions carefully. I have concluded that not only should the first one be voted down, but it’s very important that the second one be voted down as well.

Mr. Speaker: The gentleman’s time has expired.

Ron Paul: I thank the Gentleman for yielding. I rise in support of this rule, although I have a lot of complaints about how we deal with the issue of war. This is a debate that should have gone on 4 months ago before the war was started, and if we would have done this properly, we wouldn’t be bringing this up quickly – no committee work, no discussion, no chance for an amendment. But, nevertheless, I will support the rule, because at least we get a chance to talk a little bit about what’s going on in Libya with two resolutions that will come up under this rule. I generally understand that most individuals aren’t too keen on the first resolution because it’s a literal endorsement, it’s a rather explicit endorsement of the war, and I obviously would be opposed to H. J. RES. 68. But my greatest concern is about HR2278, because the way I read this resolution is that it essentially grants the same authority that we grant in the first one, because we say that no funds can be used, deny the use of funds, but how can you deny the use of appropriated funds when they’re using funds that weren’t appropriated. It’s so redundant. If the funds were never appropriated, so yes, it’s a good statement. You don’t continue to be illegal, is what we’re saying. But what I’m concerned about are the exceptions. All the exceptions are the things that they’re doing, like search and rescue, intelligence gathering, renaissance, surveillance, re-fueling, operations planning, and doing everything except pulling the trigger. So we’re legalizing that. I believe that HR2278 is the first time that we in the Congress are making a statement that we are granting authority to the president to pursue this particular war. So I am in strong opposition to that resolution as well, although I understand the other side of the argument because it says denial of funds. But the author of the resolution said that the main reason why we had the exception was to protect the integrity of our contractor agreement with NATO. Well, in the resolution, the resolution says we have to stop the funding because we don’t want to support NATO’s war. So it’s totally inconsistent, it makes no sense whatsoever, but it reminds me of the War Powers Resolution. You know, after the Vietnam War we didn’t want to get into that kind of war anymore, so the Congress comes along with infinite wisdom and with great good intentions, designs the War Power Resolution which legalized war for 90 days. That’s part of the reason why we’re here, we’re worrying about 90 days, but here we’re going into the 4th month dealing with the War Powers Resolution. There’s a simple solution to all of this, and that is, obey the constitution, don’t allow our presidents to go to war without a declaration of war, and we wouldn’t be facing this problem of this debate, that actually gets a little bit silly, on restraining the president. Yes, we should, we should exert ourselves, we have the prerogatives, we have the obligations, and we have avoided it. It’s time to stand up for the rule of law.

Mr. Speaker: The gentleman’s time has expired.

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