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Speaker Boehner Floor Statement on Libya Resolution
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke on the House floor today regarding a resolution related to President Obama’s Libya policy. Following are Boehner’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I am disappointed that we have reached this point here today. It didn’t have to come to this.
“Nearly 100 days ago, the President initiated a strike against Libya – without consultation from Congress, without prior explanation to the American people.
“Then, as now, we all supported the removal of the regime in Libya – a regime that was slaughtering its people.
“Yet rather than seek regime change, the President chose to follow – not lead – and pursued a strictly humanitarian mission under the banner of the United Nations – with no plan for Colonel Qaddafi’s removal.
“So at the outset, we asked some straightforward questions of the President: why isn’t removing Qaddafi a part of this mission? What if he doesn’t leave? Who are the rebels we’re helping to fight? How long will this last and at what cost? What does success look like?
“These were questions the administration would not – or could not – answer.
“Under our Constitution, the Commander-in-Chief has the authority to take actions necessary to protect our national security. This is an authority which I and this House respect. But it does not free the President from accountability – to the American people, to this Congress, and to the rule of law.
“Now, whatever your opinion of the War Powers Resolution may be, the fact is, it is the law of this land – and cannot simply be ignored.
“So three weeks ago, this House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution asking the President to explain how the mission is consistent with our national security goals -- to justify continuing this operation without authorization.
“He responded by telling us he didn’t need Congress because there are no 'hostilities' taking place in Libya. We soon found out, even his own lawyers won’t buy that argument.
“If the Commander-in-Chief is going take our forces into a war, he must take ownership of it. If the President believes the missile strikes and drone operations taking place in Libya are critical, it is his responsibility to explain that to the American people and seek out authorization from Congress.
“Because the President has failed to do that – because he failed to fulfill his obligations – we are here today.
“Make no mistake - I support the removal of the Libyan regime. I support the President's authorities as Commander-in-Chief. But when the President chooses to challenge the powers of the Congress, as Speaker of the House, I will defend the Constitutional authority of the legislature.
“This bill represents a responsible approach. By allowing our forces to continue playing a limited support role, it would not undermine our NATO partners. It would, however, prevent the President from carrying out any further hostilities without Congress’ approval. It would exercise Congress’ Constitutional power to provide some much-needed accountability.
“This is a responsible approach. The House should support it.”