Boehner: “This resolution puts the president on notice. He has a chance to get this right. If he doesn’t, Congress will exercise its constitutional authority and make it right.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today spoke on the House floor in support of a resolution he unveiled yesterday that (1) establishes that the president has not asked for congressional authorization, and that the Congress has not granted it; (2) reasserts Congress’ constitutional role on funding; (3) requires the president to provide within 14 days information on the mission that should have been provided from the start; and (4) reaffirms the vote we took last week that says there should be no troops on the ground. Following are a link to the video and the text of Boehner’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“In March, when the President committed our troops to NATO’s mission in Libya, I said he has a responsibility to the American people to define the mission, explain what America’s role is in achieving that mission, and lay out how it will be accomplished. He has not effectively done so, and the American people and members of this House have questions and concerns that have gone unanswered.
“The President of the United States is our commander-in-chief, and I’ve always believed we should leave combat decisions to the commander-in-chief and the generals on the ground. But the House also has an obligation to heed the concerns of our constituents and to carry out our constitutional responsibilities. The resolution I have put forth expresses the will of the people in a responsible way that reflects our commitments to our troops and our allies.
“Let me lay out exactly what my resolution does: first, it establishes that the president has not asked for, and the Congress has not granted, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of our forces in Libya. Second, it reasserts Congress’s constitutional role to fund our troops. Third, it requires the president to provide, within 14 days, information on the mission that should have been provided from the start. And lastly, it reaffirms the vote we took last week that says there should be no troops on the ground in Libya. I hope the President will recognize his obligations outlined in this resolution and provide this information to Congress, and in doing so, better communicate to the American people what our mission in Libya is and how it will be achieved.
“The resolution offered by my colleague from Ohio, Mr. Kucinich, conveys the concerns of the American people, but it also mandates a precipitous withdrawal from our role supporting our NATO allies in Libya. That would undermine our troops and our allies, which could have serious consequences for our broader national security. In my view, the gentleman’s resolution just goes too far. We may have differences regarding how we got here, but we cannot turn our backs on our troops and our NATO partners who have stuck by us for the last 10 years.
“In 1991 – in my very first vote as a member of this body – I voted to authorize the use of force in the First Gulf War. It was a consequential time, but we did the right thing. Today is no different. On behalf of the American people and our country, we have an obligation to support our troops in harm’s way, and stand by our allies.
“This resolution puts the president on notice. He has a chance to get this right. If he doesn’t, Congress will exercise its constitutional authority and make it right. I urge a ‘yes’ vote on the Boehner resolution, and a ‘no’ vote on the Kucinich resolution.”
NOTE: The text of Speaker Boehner’s resolution is available here.