|00:00:00||SPEAKER, I CAME DOWN HERE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE LIBYA ISSUE, THE WAR THAT SUPPOSEDLY IS NOT A WAR.|
|00:00:07||BUT I WANTED TO START OFF BY TALKING A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE RHETORIC THAT'S COMING OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND FROM THE PRESIDENT.|
|00:00:15||I WAS WATCHING THE NEWS THIS MORNING AND THE PRESIDENT INDICATED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE THESE BUDGET TALKS DOWN AT THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY.|
|00:00:21||AND HE SAID, AND I QUOTE, THAT THE REPUBLICANS, IN EFFECT, HAVE A GUN TO THE HEAD OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.|
|00:00:34||AND THAT JUST ISN'T THE KIND OF RHETORIC THAT SHOULD BE USED RIGHT NOW WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE HUGE BUDGET DEFICITS WE HAVE.|
|00:00:41||AND IF I WERE TALKING TO THE PRESIDENT, I WOULD TRY TO ADMONISH HIM TO NOT DO THAT IN THE FUTURE.|
|00:00:46||AND THEN WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT LIBYA, I THINK IT WAS JUST ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE DAYS AGO, HE SAID THAT WE IN CONGRESS ARE MAKING LIBYA A CAUSE CELEBRE, INDICATING THAT IT'S NOT AN IMPORTANT ISSUE AND WE'RE JUST TRYING TO PUFF IT UP SO THAT WE CAN MAKE POLITICAL POINTS.|
|00:01:06||THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS IT IS A WAR.|
|00:01:12||THE PRESIDENT WENT TO THE ARAB LEAGUE.|
|00:01:16||HE WENT TO THE FRENCH, THE ENGLISH.|
|00:01:22||HE WENT TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND NATO AND DECIDED HE WAS GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN AN ATTACK ON LIBYA AND MUAMMAR GADDAFI, BUT THE ONE PLACE HE DIDN'T TALK TO OR THE ONE PLACE HE DIDN'T COME TO TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE WAS THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE.|
|00:01:41||AND THE FIRST PLACE THAT A PRESIDENT OUGHT TO IMPIF HE THINKS WE OUGHT TO GO INTO -- GO IF HE THINKS WE OUGHT TO GO INTO A CONFLICT OF ANY KIND IS THE CONGRESS, AND THE CONSTITUTION IS VERY CLEAR ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PRESIDENT BEFORE HE GOES INTO A CONFLICT.|
|00:02:04||IT HAS TO BE A THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES, A THREAT TO OUR INTEREST AND IT HAS TO BE APPROVED BY THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.|
|00:02:17||THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES IS THE ONLY BODY THAT CAN DECLARE WAR.|
|00:02:21||HE CAN'T DO THAT. HE CAN MANAGE A WAR.|
|00:02:23||HE'S THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF ONCE WE GO INTO WAR, BUT HE CAN'T START A WAR UNLESS IT'S IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST OR IF THERE'S A THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES.|
|00:02:31||AND THAT WAS CLARIFIED BY THE WAR POWERS ACT DURING THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION BECAUSE THERE WAS SOME QUESTION ABOUT THE LATITUDE THE PRESIDENT MIGHT HAVE USING THE CONSTITUTION.|
|00:02:41||SO THE CONSTITUTION WAS EXPLAINED VERY CAREFULLY IN THE 1970'S IN THE WAR POWERS ACT.|
|00:02:47||NOW, THAT'S NEVER BEEN TESTED IN THE COURTS.|
|00:02:50||SOME SAY IT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL.|
|00:02:51||BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, IT'S THE LAW OF THE NATION.|
|00:02:54||AND THE PRESIDENT CANNOT VIOLATE THE LAW OR THE CONSTITUTION, AND IN OUR OPINION HE'S VIOLATED BOTH.|
|00:03:03||NOW, LET ME JUST TELL YOU WHAT'S GOING ON IN THIS WAR THAT THE PRESIDENT SAYS IS NOT A WAR.|
|00:03:11||WE HAVE FLOWN ALMOST 30% OF THE SORTEES.|
|00:03:19||THAT MEANS WE HAVE FLOWN 375,000 FLIGHTS INTO THE COMBAT AREA.|
|00:03:25||WE HAVE DROPPED BOMBS AND MISS -- MISSILES 132 TIMES AND SOMETIMES WE HIT CIVILIANS.|
|00:03:36||NOBODY LIKES MUAMMAR GADDAFI.|
|00:03:38||NOBODY WANTS HIM IN OFFICE, BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A WAR TO GET RID OF HIM.|
|00:03:44||ON PAY 22, THE FIGURE WAS THAT OF THE MISSILES THAT WERE FIRED, THERE WERE 246 MISSILES FIRED AND 228 WERE THE UNITED STATES MISSILES AT $1.|
|00:03:55||1 MILLION PER MISSILE.|
|00:03:59||AND WE'RE PAYING P.|
|00:04:01||M. 60% OR 70% -- PAYING 60% OR 70% OF THE TOTAL THROUGH NATO OR DIRECTLY FROM THE TAXPAYERS OF THE UNITED STATES.|
|00:04:11||NOW, THE REASON I CAME DOWN HERE TODAY IS TO SAY THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE IN THAT CONFLICT BECAUSE IT WAS NOT IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST AND THERE WAS NO THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES AND IT WAS A VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE WAR POWERS ACT.|
|00:04:27||THE PRESIDENT SAID HE HAD TO DO IT BECAUSE IT WAS A HUMANITARIAN ISSUE.|
|00:04:30||IF IT WAS A HUMANITARIAN ISSUE AND WE REALLY NEEDED TO GO IN THERE HE SHOULD HAVE CAME TO CONGRESS.|
|00:04:37||THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT BUSH, DID GO TO CONGRESS ON AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ TO GET APPROVAL BEFORE HE DID IT.|
|00:04:45||BUT PRESIDENT OBAMA DECIDED TO DO THIS UNILATERALLY.|
|00:04:48||SO WE ARE IN A WAR NOW AND IT'S CLOSING THE TAXPAYERS CLOSE TO $1 BILLION IN A WAR THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE IN.|
|00:04:55||NOW, HE SAID IT WAS FOR HUMANITARIAN PURPOSES.|
|00:04:58||IF THAT'S THE CASE WE OUGHT TO BE IN A WAR IN THE IVEY COAST.|
|00:05:00||RIGHT NOW IN THE SUDAN -- IVORY COAST.|
|00:05:04||RIGHT NOW IN THE SUDAN THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE BEING EXECUTED AND KILLED, AND IF THAT'S THE CASE WE ODD TO BE IN THE SUDAN.|
|00:05:10||IN SYRIA, WE ALL KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN SYRIA RIGHT NOW.|
|00:05:13||IF THAT'S THE CASE WE OUGHT TO BE IN SYRIA.|
|00:05:15||THERE ARE WARS OF OPPORTUNITY EVERY PLACE, AND I JUST LIKE TO END, MR.|
|00:05:19||SPEAKER, BY SAYING THIS, THE PRESIDENT SHOULD ALWAYS COME TO THE CONGRESS IF IT'S IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST OR THE THREAT TO THE COUNTRY BEFORE HE GOES TO WAR.|
|00:05:29||AND IT'S CONSTITUTIONALLY REQUIRED.|
|00:05:32||I YIELD BACK MY TIME.|
Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I came down here today to talk about the Libya issue, the war that supposedly is not a war, but I wanted to start off by talking a little bit about [Page: H4684] the rhetoric that's coming out of the White House and from the President.
I was watching the news this morning, and the President indicated that they were going to have these budget talks down at the White House today. And he said, and I quote, that the Republicans, in effect, have a gun to the head of the American people. That just isn't the kind of rhetoric that should be used right now when we're talking about the huge budget deficits we have. And if I were talking to the President, I would try to admonish him to not do that in the future.
And then, when we were talking about Libya, I think it was just about 4 or 5 days ago, he said that we in Congress are making Libya a cause celebre, indicating that it's not an important issue, and we're just trying to puff it up so that we can make political points.
[Time: 11:00] The fact of the matter is it is a war. The President went to the Arab League, he went to the French, the English, he went to the United Nations, and NATO and decided that he was going to be involved in an attack on Libya and Muammar Qadhafi. But the one place he didn't come to to talk about this issue was the Congress of the United States--the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first place that a President ought to go if he thinks we ought to go into a conflict of any kind is the Congress.
The Constitution is very clear on the responsibilities of the President before he goes into a conflict. It has to be a threat to the United States, a threat to our interests, and it has to be approved by the Congress of the United States. The Congress of the United States is the only body that can declare war. He can't do that. He can manage a war. He is the Commander in Chief once we go into war, but he can't start a war unless it's in our national interest or there's a threat to the United States. That was clarified by the War Powers Act during the Nixon administration because there was some question about the latitude a President might have using the Constitution.
The Constitution was explained very carefully in the 1970s in the War Powers Act. Now, that's never been tested in the courts. Some people say it's unconstitutional. But the fact of the matter is it's the law of the Nation. The President cannot violate the law or the Constitution, and in our opinion, he's violated both.
Let me just tell you what's going on in this war that the President says is not a war.
We have flown almost 30 percent of the sorties. That means we have flown 3,475 flights into the combat area. We have dropped bombs and missiles 132 times on targets, and several times we've hit civilians.
Nobody likes Muammar Qadhafi. Nobody wants him in office. But the fact of the matter is, we've been involved in a war to get rid of him.
On May 22, the figure was that of the missiles that were fired, there were 246 missiles fired, and 228 were the United States' missiles--at $1.1 million per missile. And we're paying approximately 60 or 70 percent of the total cost of this conflict through NATO or directly from the taxpayers of the United States.
Now, the reason I came down here today is to say that we should not be in that conflict because it was not in our national interest and there was no threat to the United States and it was a violation of the Constitution and the War Powers Act.
The President said he had to do it because it was a humanitarian issue. If it was a humanitarian issue and we really needed to go in there, he should have come to Congress. The previous President, President Bush, did go to Congress on Afghanistan and Iraq to get approval before he did it, but President Obama decided to do this unilaterally. So we are in a war now, and it's costing the taxpayers close to a billion dollars in a war that we should not be in.
He said it was for humanitarian purposes. If that's the case, we ought to be in a war in the Ivory Coast. Right now in the Sudan, there are thousands and thousands of people being executed and killed. And if that's the case, we ought to be in the Sudan. In Syria, we all know what's going on in Syria right now. If that's the case, we ought to be in Syria. There are wars of opportunity every place.
I just like to end, Mr. Speaker, by saying this: The President should always come to the Congress if it's in our national interest or a threat to this country before he goes to war. It's constitutionally required.