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In Historic Vote, U.S. House of Representatives Reasserts its Constitutional Responsibility To Authorize War

July 25, 2014 (EIRNS)—Today, after an hour’s debate, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 370 to 40, with 22 members not voting, in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 105 introduced by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). The resolution in amended form states that the president shall not deploy or maintain United States Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization for such use enacted after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution. It also states, "Nothing in this concurrent resolution supersedes the requirements of the War Powers Resolution."

Lyndon LaRouche welcomed the passage of the resolution as an historic shift with implications beyond Iraq per se: the Congress has said overwhelmingly that President Obama cannot launch war. Only the Congress can declare war, and a bipartisan majority of the Congress has reasserted the Constitution.

Implicit in the vote and the debate, is the fact that many Congressmen recognize that the Congress has for years abdicated its Constitutional responsibilities; as a result the nation has been led into wars based on lies; and the 2001 and 2002 Authorization of the Use of Military Force after 9/11 and in regard to Iraq have led to systemic violations of the U.S. Constitution.

This victory was strongly bipartisan. Of those who voted for the resolution, 180 were Republican and 190 Democrat; 37 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted no. 16 Republicans and 6 Democrats did not vote.

Although a transcript is not yet available, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, reported that he expected the overwhelming passage of the resolution, which was supported by both the Republican and Democratic leadership of the House.

Speaker after speaker, starting with Walter Jones, described the resolution as a step towards reclaiming the constitutional authority of the Congress in respect to matters of war and peace. Jones cited the statement by James Madison to the effect that it is the Congress which has the power to declare war and the power to assess the causes of war. He stated that he regretted his vote for the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq and said he hoped both the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs would be rescinded.

Rep. Jim McGovern also stressed that the resolution asserts the role of Congress in matters of war and peace. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) stated that if we go to war, we must follow the Constitute. Anything else is illegal.

Barbara Lee also stressed how important it is for Congress to debate and determine when the nation engages in war. She said she was concerned about mission-creep. She pointed to the fact that the 2001 AUMF was passed effectively without debate and that it was then used to wage war in Afghanistan and to justify drone killings, NSA surveillance, and renditions.

When Rep. Adam Kinsinger (R-Ill) said he couldn’t support the resolution, Rep. McGovern said, then he should introduce a resolution for war, which can be voted up or down.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) said that she would support the amended resolution even though she thought the original resolution was better, since there are already 1,000 troops in Iraq in harm’s way. She asked the Congress to take further action.