“Since the enactment of the
War Powers Act in the 1970s, which I supported
then and support now, Congress has been
reluctant to assert its authority when
Presidents see fit to send American military
personnel into harm’s way—Korea, Vietnam,
Lebanon, Grenada, and Panama. The essence of the
War Powers act is that any President must seek
the approval of the people, in this case through
their representatives in the Congress, for such
I believe the American people would decide in favor of stopping innocent people from being killed or wounded by the forces aligned with Gaddafi. However, the integrity of the United States government before the world, and before its own people, insists on Congress stepping up to assume its responsibility.
We just passed the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, which we went into thinking that there were weapons of mass destruction and that our troops would be “greeted as liberators.” Eight years later, we know that liberating Iraq was not “a cakewalk.”
It is the responsibility of Congress to consider our President’s decision before involving ourselves in any military conflict. If we don’t assert our constitutional authority in something as serious as war, we are slowly undermining our democratic principles.
There is no question that in my mind President Obama is the greatest president of my lifetime. I am confident that the President cares for the safety of our brave men and women placing in harm’s way. I just reintroduced the universal national service bill, including a military draft, so the American people, through their representatives in Congress, understand the costs and obligation this nation is undertaking when it engages in something as serious as war.
It is the continuing expenses of those endless military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan that continue to hamstring our efforts to dig us out of the economic hole the last administration left us in. Presently, we are now engaged in a budget process that closes senior citizen centers, undermines our investments in education and health care.
I plan to work with President Obama and my colleagues to address concerns at home on innovation, jobs, education and health care, and not merely providing a tax cut for the wealthy.
Congress should be called into session immediately. This could be the beginning of another Korea or Iraq. We went into these conflicts without knowing how long they would last. War in Korea still has not ended and we have just entered the ninth year in Iraq. This has to stop sometime. It is up to the U.S. Congress to fulfill its constitutional authority.”