House Refuses to Discuss the Use of Military Action

On a frigid Friday last February, our congressman, Rep. Tom Reed held a special Town Hall Meeting in Penn Yan to discuss our country’s Foreign Affairs, The New NY 23rd’s report of this event can be found here. Below is a paragraph from that report:

Rep. Reed started by passing out President Obama’s “Proposed Joint Resolution” and praised the President for including congress on this matter. Reed summarized  the ISIS situation well. He explained that there is (very) little chance that battles will happen on our homeland. His thoughts continued– since we are not likely to be attacked, why should we become involved?  Are we willing to send American troops into this battle? Then, he gave the other side of the coin: He had watched the video tapes of the beheadings and the burning of the Jordanian pilot. How can the United States with all of the military power sit on the sidelines and watch the atrocities occur? That is the conflict he is wrestling with.

The “Proposed Joint Resolution” that President Obama sent to Congress is officially called an “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” (AUMF) – requesting congress to weigh in on continuing military action to combat the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

Rep. Reed came to Penn Yan to ask our opinion. During the discussion the President was accused of overstepping his constitutional power by unilaterally taking our country into war without congressional approval–that it is Congress’ power to declare war. Although head-in-the-sandRep. Reed acknowledged Congress’ role in declaring was, he quickly brought the War Powers Act, and other provisions that gives the President the power to send in limited combat forces to protect our country.

The Wars Powers Act gives the President a 60-day window to work with. Congress received the request for the AUMF over four month ago. Congress has done nothing. Not-A-Thing, and  three congress members are now speaking out on how congressional leaders are failing to be doing their jobs.

On June 4 Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Ca), Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has introduced H. Con. Res. 55 in order to force this House and this Congress to debate on whether U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq and Syria.  We introduced this resolution under the provisions of section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution.

Rep. McGovern explained, “Our resolution, which will come before this House for consideration in 15 calendar days, requires the President to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and Syria within 30 days or no later than the end of this year, December 31, 2015.   If this House approves this resolution, Congress would still have 6 months in which to do the right thing and bring an AUMF before the House and Senate for debate and action.  Either Congress needs to live up to its responsibilities and authorize this war, or by its continuing neglect and indifference, our troops should be withdrawn and come home.  It’s that simple.”

He continues to accuse congress of not doing their jobs:

Frankly speaking, Mr. Speaker, this is unacceptable.  This House appears to have no problem sending our uniformed men and women into harm’s way; it appears to have no problem spending billions of dollars for the arms, equipment and airpower to carry out these wars; but it just can’t bring itself to step up to the plate and take responsibility for these wars.

Our servicemen and servicewomen are brave and dedicated.  Congress, however, is the poster child for cowardice.  The Leadership of this House whines and complains from the sidelines, and all the while it shirks its Constitutional duties to bring an AUMF to the floor of this House, debate it and vote on it.

You can hear Rep. McGovern full speech here:

You can read the speech here,

Rachel Maddow reported about the three Representatives concerns recently. The following clip gives the background to this story before her interview with Rep. McGovern.

 Only 18% of the House of Representatives are Veterans. Are our Representatives qualified to decide War and Peace issues? Do they have the background to make intelligent decisions? Do they have the desire to make the tough decisions? Do they put the country above their political ambitions? Representatives Lee, McGovern, and Jones are reminding their colleagues of their responsibilities. Will they respond, or will they hide their heads in the sand? Time will tell.

About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in Congress, Constitution, Economics, Reed's Views, Terrorism, Town Hall Meeting, Uncategorized, Veterans, War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to House Refuses to Discuss the Use of Military Action

  1. BOB McGILL says:

    we don’t need middle east oil right now and the politicians haven’t figured out how to make a fortune YET. A year from now oil is supposed to go up and by then we will find out fracked oil wells run dry real fast, so my bet is that by June 2016 things will be different. Besides it’s an election year and the democrats need time to scare the crap out of the voters.


  2. whungerford says:

    Rep. Jones, I believe, is a fiscal conservative who believes in a balanced budget. He is also a legalist who believes in following the rules laid down in the Constitution. However, he is blind to the likely consequences of his ideas. No mater how much he wishes it were so, a balanced budget, particularly in hard times, would have dire consequences. Nor is a pedantic reading of the Constitution in the public interest.


  3. josephurban says:

    Congress has given the executive branch de facto war making powers. It is convenient for them. They can sit back and if things go well they can wave the flag of faux patriotism. If things go poorly they can blame the POTUS. A win-win politically.
    But it is their job. They should be voting on whether to commit troops to the Syrian conflict. Leaving it up to the POTUS to decide is opening the door to another Vietnam or Iraq debacle. The War Powers Act was designed for emergency situations, not for longstanding conflicts. Time for Congress to sh….t or get off the pot.
    My guess is that they will continue to talk about “bold leadership” while offering none. Taking responsibility is something they preach about to single moms, not something they apply to themselves.


  4. BOB McGILL says:

    you said, ” Leaving it up to the POTUS to decide is opening the door to another Vietnam or Iraq debacle “. Are putting them blame for Iraq on Obama ?


  5. pystew says:

    Cherry-picking statements again. Look at the whole picture, Bob. Congress has the responsibility to decide if we are going to war. This congress pretends that that part of the constitution does’t exist. Boehner is afraid to have his House Republicans say anything. he wants to keep the ultra-right quiet, not to damage the GOP’s brand more than they already have.


  6. josephurban says:

    No, Bob. Mr.Obama did not call for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.Remember? It was Mr Bush who instigated the “2 week war” in which US troops would be “greeted as liberators”. Mr Obama did inherit the financial and foreign policy disasters, that is true. But it would be wrong for me to blame Mr Obama for Iraq when he opposed the invasion, don’t you think?

    From Illinois state senator Barack Obama’s speech in 2002.

    “….I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

    What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
    That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics….”



  7. josephurban says:

    Is it not odd that while the Republicans like to call Mr Obama a “dictator” they allow him dictatorial powers to make war…the one area in which they have very specific Constitutional duties?


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