1:27 PM EDT

Ed Royce, R-CA 39th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55. But while I am opposed to this resolution, I do want to commend its author, Mr. McGovern, for his constant and principled attention to the issue of U.S. military engagement in Iraq and Syria and the role of Congress in making this decision. These are some of the most important and challenging issues that we face and that we struggle with as an institution.

I know the gentleman from Massachusetts is frustrated. I have listened to him on the floor of the House. In many ways, I share his frustrations. ISIS is making too many gains. Critical cities have fallen. But this resolution, I believe, would take us in the opposite direction of where U.S. policy should be.

If the United States were to remove all of our forces from the theater, as this resolution calls for, ISIS would surely grow stronger. ISIS would surely accelerate on a process of decimating all in its path, placing women under brutal oppression and, I have no doubt, further strengthening their position and further threatening our European allies and even the U.S. homeland. More battlefield victories would support ISIS propaganda, which would support its recruitment, which would make it more

deadly by the day.

Mr. Speaker, no one is eager for this commitment, but ISIS is on the march; and this radical jihadist group is taking more territory, more weapons, and more resources, threatening the government in Baghdad and, indeed, threatening to destabilize this entire critical region.

Now, H. Con. Res. 55 calls for the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from the fight against ISIS, halting all U.S. strikes against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. It would also leave ISIS unchecked--not only unchecked by U.S. airpower, but it would allow this brutal terrorist group, as I say, to gain strength, to destabilize the critical region, and to create a safe haven from which ISIS can plot attacks against the United States.

[Time: 13:30]

H. Con. Res. 55 has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against ISIS but would unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces from the fight.

Last year, debating another Iraq measure offered by Mr. McGovern, I said: ``Never has a terrorist organization itself controlled such a large, resource-rich safe haven as ISIS does today. Never has a terrorist organization possessed the heavy weaponry, the cash, the personnel that ISIS does today, which includes thousands of Western passport holders.''

Well, unfortunately, it is worse today. Just weeks ago, Ramadi, a city only 75 miles from Iraq's capital, was overrun by ISIS and by its suicide bombers who led that first wave.

ISIS's goals are very clear: wreck every person opposing it, establish a caliphate, and then fight to expand it. ISIS has unleashed a campaign of brutal and depraved violence, not only against Shia Muslims and fellow Sunnis who do not share their radical beliefs, but against vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities. As one witnessed testified to the Foreign Affairs Committee the other day: ``We cherish ethnic and religious diversity. ISIS hates it.'' And they hate in some of the most brutal

ways possible.

Mr. Speaker, many Americans may not realize that Iraq and Syria are home to dozens of ethnic and religious minorities, with ancient cultures with very deep roots. These communities--Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, Yazidis, Alawites, and many others--are under mortal threat in their ancestral homelands.

The mass execution of men, the enslavement of women and young girls as concubines, and the destruction of religious sites is part of the ISIS effort to destroy these communities. Their plan is to make it as if those societies never existed, those religions in that area never existed. In fact, ISIS maintains a special battalion--they call it the ``demolition battalion''--charged with obliterating religious and historic sites and artifacts that it considers heretical.

And ISIS has used the ``virtual caliphate'' on the Internet to recruit foreign fighters at an unprecedented rate. Some 20,000 of their fighters are, in fact, from offshore, are foreign fighters drawn to the area from some 90 countries. Those are the numbers that now are swelling its ranks. According to intelligence estimates, this includes at least 150 Americans that we know of.

Yet over the last 10 or so months, the administration has put forth a reluctant and half-hearted and ineffective effort to assist our partners there on the ground. I think we all recognize that this is up to the Iraqi Government to fight to win this. We understand that. They are in the lead. But they desperately need help. And I am not prepared to say that we shouldn't be providing any military support to the Kurds strung along a 180-mile, or several hundred mile, front, with 180,000 soldiers.

Thirty percent of those Kurdish soldiers are female. And those young women are down there with small arms trying to hold off ISIS fighters along that line. I am not prepared to say that we should not be providing any military support for those Kurds or for the Iraqi forces and any air support whatsoever. That is what this resolution does.

It didn't have to be this dire. Well over a year ago, when ISIS was building its force in the desert in Syria, it wasn't bombed and devastated when it could have been. It should have been. Many called for an effort at that point to have an air campaign by the U.S. and our partners to pummel ISIS as it moved across the desert in these long columns and begin the process to take city after city. It came out of Syria. First it headed to Fallujah, and there was a call to use air power to suppress

and use ISIS then. That step was not taken. And for 14 separate cities, city after city, all the way to Mosul, we watched every time the request be made for air power, and that was turned down.

Well, we are where we are now. And, frankly, the air campaign by the U.S. and our partners isn't pummeling the enemy now, as it should. Daily airstrikes against the Islamic State are one-sixth of what they were in the first campaign against the Taliban back in 2001. U.S. Special Forces should be authorized to call in airstrikes. Most Americans would be puzzled to learn that Canadian Special Forces are doing this, but we are not.

Pilots complain of having their hands tied. It has been estimated that three-quarters of U.S. aircraft return to base without discharging their weapons because of overly restrictive rules of engagement that don't allow them to engage ISIS. As one observer notes, with just ``piecemeal attacks, the Obama administration has been systematically squandering our air power advantage.'' I think that is right.

Adding to the problem, the regional forces on the ground that these airstrikes are supposed to be supporting [Page: H4457]

are badly undersupplied. After 10 months of fighting, there are still too many reports that the Kurdish Peshmerga, our allies, are outgunned on the front lines against ISIS. I have met with their foreign minister three times now as he has made this case. Again, 30 percent of his battalions, Kurdish battalions, are female battalions, and they can't

obtain the antitank weapons, the artillery, the mortars to use against ISIS in this battle.

While U.S. forces have been training some Iraqis, that has been done way behind the front lines. Rather than pairing up with smaller units and deploying with them to push them to the front--and that is, by the way, a technique that has proven effective in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past--this has not been done. U.S. advisers are unable to bolster Iraqi units when they come under attack or to call in airstrikes by U.S. planes. We don't have the capacity to do that. And that limitation tragically

helped Ramadi fall.

Mr. Speaker, our friends and allies and partners in this region of the world are in serious trouble from the threat of ISIS. They need our help. Employing our air power like we should, getting those weapons to the front lines that are needed by the Kurds, putting more U.S. Special Forces into place, would help turn this around.

But that is not at all what this measure calls for. As I say, it is quite the opposite. It calls for the President to remove United States Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on August 7 or after.

The Foreign Affairs Committee has held many hearings on ISIS and instability in the region. We haven't heard any witnesses make the case that complete withdrawal is what is needed.

What would happen to Iraq, what would happen to Jordan, what would happen to civilians in the theater? I think we can all agree that situation would compound.

This is the question in front of us today: Do we pull the modest number of our modest presence out of this theater and see ISIS run wild across the Iraqi desert with no help from the United States? I don't think so.

There is no military-only answer to the ISIS challenge. The Iraqi Government must do far more to reconcile with Sunnis, building confidence and empowering them to take on ISIS. ISIS must be attacked financially, and its propaganda must be relentlessly challenged. And Arab leaders need to lead. But just as there is no military-only answer, there is no answer without a military component of helping the Kurds and helping those

who are fighting ISIS. And, right now, the U.S. role, as much as we may regret it, is needed desperately.

Mr. Speaker, in the national security interest of the United States, I ask all Members to oppose H. Con. Res. 55.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:27 PM EDT

Ed Royce, R-CA 39th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55. But while I am opposed to this resolution, I do want to commend its author, Mr. McGovern, for his constant and principled attention to the issue of U.S. military engagement in Iraq and Syria and the role of Congress in making this decision. These are some of the most important and challenging issues that we face and that we struggle with as an institution.

I know the gentleman from Massachusetts is frustrated. I have listened to him on the floor of the House. In many ways, I share his frustrations. ISIS is making too many gains. Critical cities have fallen. But this resolution, I believe, would take us in the opposite direction of where U.S. policy should be.

If the United States were to remove all of our forces from the theater, as this resolution calls for, ISIS would surely grow stronger. ISIS would surely accelerate on a process of decimating all in its path, placing women under brutal oppression and, I have no doubt, further strengthening their position and further threatening our European allies and even the U.S. homeland. More battlefield victories would support ISIS propaganda, which would support its recruitment, which would make it more

deadly by the day.

Mr. Speaker, no one is eager for this commitment, but ISIS is on the march; and this radical jihadist group is taking more territory, more weapons, and more resources, threatening the government in Baghdad and, indeed, threatening to destabilize this entire critical region.

Now, H. Con. Res. 55 calls for the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from the fight against ISIS, halting all U.S. strikes against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. It would also leave ISIS unchecked--not only unchecked by U.S. airpower, but it would allow this brutal terrorist group, as I say, to gain strength, to destabilize the critical region, and to create a safe haven from which ISIS can plot attacks against the United States.

[Time: 13:30]

H. Con. Res. 55 has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against ISIS but would unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces from the fight.

Last year, debating another Iraq measure offered by Mr. McGovern, I said: ``Never has a terrorist organization itself controlled such a large, resource-rich safe haven as ISIS does today. Never has a terrorist organization possessed the heavy weaponry, the cash, the personnel that ISIS does today, which includes thousands of Western passport holders.''

Well, unfortunately, it is worse today. Just weeks ago, Ramadi, a city only 75 miles from Iraq's capital, was overrun by ISIS and by its suicide bombers who led that first wave.

ISIS's goals are very clear: wreck every person opposing it, establish a caliphate, and then fight to expand it. ISIS has unleashed a campaign of brutal and depraved violence, not only against Shia Muslims and fellow Sunnis who do not share their radical beliefs, but against vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities. As one witnessed testified to the Foreign Affairs Committee the other day: ``We cherish ethnic and religious diversity. ISIS hates it.'' And they hate in some of the most brutal

ways possible.

Mr. Speaker, many Americans may not realize that Iraq and Syria are home to dozens of ethnic and religious minorities, with ancient cultures with very deep roots. These communities--Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, Yazidis, Alawites, and many others--are under mortal threat in their ancestral homelands.

The mass execution of men, the enslavement of women and young girls as concubines, and the destruction of religious sites is part of the ISIS effort to destroy these communities. Their plan is to make it as if those societies never existed, those religions in that area never existed. In fact, ISIS maintains a special battalion--they call it the ``demolition battalion''--charged with obliterating religious and historic sites and artifacts that it considers heretical.

And ISIS has used the ``virtual caliphate'' on the Internet to recruit foreign fighters at an unprecedented rate. Some 20,000 of their fighters are, in fact, from offshore, are foreign fighters drawn to the area from some 90 countries. Those are the numbers that now are swelling its ranks. According to intelligence estimates, this includes at least 150 Americans that we know of.

Yet over the last 10 or so months, the administration has put forth a reluctant and half-hearted and ineffective effort to assist our partners there on the ground. I think we all recognize that this is up to the Iraqi Government to fight to win this. We understand that. They are in the lead. But they desperately need help. And I am not prepared to say that we shouldn't be providing any military support to the Kurds strung along a 180-mile, or several hundred mile, front, with 180,000 soldiers.

Thirty percent of those Kurdish soldiers are female. And those young women are down there with small arms trying to hold off ISIS fighters along that line. I am not prepared to say that we should not be providing any military support for those Kurds or for the Iraqi forces and any air support whatsoever. That is what this resolution does.

It didn't have to be this dire. Well over a year ago, when ISIS was building its force in the desert in Syria, it wasn't bombed and devastated when it could have been. It should have been. Many called for an effort at that point to have an air campaign by the U.S. and our partners to pummel ISIS as it moved across the desert in these long columns and begin the process to take city after city. It came out of Syria. First it headed to Fallujah, and there was a call to use air power to suppress

and use ISIS then. That step was not taken. And for 14 separate cities, city after city, all the way to Mosul, we watched every time the request be made for air power, and that was turned down.

Well, we are where we are now. And, frankly, the air campaign by the U.S. and our partners isn't pummeling the enemy now, as it should. Daily airstrikes against the Islamic State are one-sixth of what they were in the first campaign against the Taliban back in 2001. U.S. Special Forces should be authorized to call in airstrikes. Most Americans would be puzzled to learn that Canadian Special Forces are doing this, but we are not.

Pilots complain of having their hands tied. It has been estimated that three-quarters of U.S. aircraft return to base without discharging their weapons because of overly restrictive rules of engagement that don't allow them to engage ISIS. As one observer notes, with just ``piecemeal attacks, the Obama administration has been systematically squandering our air power advantage.'' I think that is right.

Adding to the problem, the regional forces on the ground that these airstrikes are supposed to be supporting [Page: H4457]

are badly undersupplied. After 10 months of fighting, there are still too many reports that the Kurdish Peshmerga, our allies, are outgunned on the front lines against ISIS. I have met with their foreign minister three times now as he has made this case. Again, 30 percent of his battalions, Kurdish battalions, are female battalions, and they can't

obtain the antitank weapons, the artillery, the mortars to use against ISIS in this battle.

While U.S. forces have been training some Iraqis, that has been done way behind the front lines. Rather than pairing up with smaller units and deploying with them to push them to the front--and that is, by the way, a technique that has proven effective in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past--this has not been done. U.S. advisers are unable to bolster Iraqi units when they come under attack or to call in airstrikes by U.S. planes. We don't have the capacity to do that. And that limitation tragically

helped Ramadi fall.

Mr. Speaker, our friends and allies and partners in this region of the world are in serious trouble from the threat of ISIS. They need our help. Employing our air power like we should, getting those weapons to the front lines that are needed by the Kurds, putting more U.S. Special Forces into place, would help turn this around.

But that is not at all what this measure calls for. As I say, it is quite the opposite. It calls for the President to remove United States Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on August 7 or after.

The Foreign Affairs Committee has held many hearings on ISIS and instability in the region. We haven't heard any witnesses make the case that complete withdrawal is what is needed.

What would happen to Iraq, what would happen to Jordan, what would happen to civilians in the theater? I think we can all agree that situation would compound.

This is the question in front of us today: Do we pull the modest number of our modest presence out of this theater and see ISIS run wild across the Iraqi desert with no help from the United States? I don't think so.

There is no military-only answer to the ISIS challenge. The Iraqi Government must do far more to reconcile with Sunnis, building confidence and empowering them to take on ISIS. ISIS must be attacked financially, and its propaganda must be relentlessly challenged. And Arab leaders need to lead. But just as there is no military-only answer, there is no answer without a military component of helping the Kurds and helping those

who are fighting ISIS. And, right now, the U.S. role, as much as we may regret it, is needed desperately.

Mr. Speaker, in the national security interest of the United States, I ask all Members to oppose H. Con. Res. 55.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:27 PM EDT

Ed Royce, R-CA 39th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55. But while I am opposed to this resolution, I do want to commend its author, Mr. McGovern, for his constant and principled attention to the issue of U.S. military engagement in Iraq and Syria and the role of Congress in making this decision. These are some of the most important and challenging issues that we face and that we struggle with as an institution.

I know the gentleman from Massachusetts is frustrated. I have listened to him on the floor of the House. In many ways, I share his frustrations. ISIS is making too many gains. Critical cities have fallen. But this resolution, I believe, would take us in the opposite direction of where U.S. policy should be.

If the United States were to remove all of our forces from the theater, as this resolution calls for, ISIS would surely grow stronger. ISIS would surely accelerate on a process of decimating all in its path, placing women under brutal oppression and, I have no doubt, further strengthening their position and further threatening our European allies and even the U.S. homeland. More battlefield victories would support ISIS propaganda, which would support its recruitment, which would make it more

deadly by the day.

Mr. Speaker, no one is eager for this commitment, but ISIS is on the march; and this radical jihadist group is taking more territory, more weapons, and more resources, threatening the government in Baghdad and, indeed, threatening to destabilize this entire critical region.

Now, H. Con. Res. 55 calls for the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from the fight against ISIS, halting all U.S. strikes against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. It would also leave ISIS unchecked--not only unchecked by U.S. airpower, but it would allow this brutal terrorist group, as I say, to gain strength, to destabilize the critical region, and to create a safe haven from which ISIS can plot attacks against the United States.

[Time: 13:30]

H. Con. Res. 55 has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against ISIS but would unilaterally withdraw U.S. forces from the fight.

Last year, debating another Iraq measure offered by Mr. McGovern, I said: ``Never has a terrorist organization itself controlled such a large, resource-rich safe haven as ISIS does today. Never has a terrorist organization possessed the heavy weaponry, the cash, the personnel that ISIS does today, which includes thousands of Western passport holders.''

Well, unfortunately, it is worse today. Just weeks ago, Ramadi, a city only 75 miles from Iraq's capital, was overrun by ISIS and by its suicide bombers who led that first wave.

ISIS's goals are very clear: wreck every person opposing it, establish a caliphate, and then fight to expand it. ISIS has unleashed a campaign of brutal and depraved violence, not only against Shia Muslims and fellow Sunnis who do not share their radical beliefs, but against vulnerable religious and ethnic minorities. As one witnessed testified to the Foreign Affairs Committee the other day: ``We cherish ethnic and religious diversity. ISIS hates it.'' And they hate in some of the most brutal

ways possible.

Mr. Speaker, many Americans may not realize that Iraq and Syria are home to dozens of ethnic and religious minorities, with ancient cultures with very deep roots. These communities--Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, Yazidis, Alawites, and many others--are under mortal threat in their ancestral homelands.

The mass execution of men, the enslavement of women and young girls as concubines, and the destruction of religious sites is part of the ISIS effort to destroy these communities. Their plan is to make it as if those societies never existed, those religions in that area never existed. In fact, ISIS maintains a special battalion--they call it the ``demolition battalion''--charged with obliterating religious and historic sites and artifacts that it considers heretical.

And ISIS has used the ``virtual caliphate'' on the Internet to recruit foreign fighters at an unprecedented rate. Some 20,000 of their fighters are, in fact, from offshore, are foreign fighters drawn to the area from some 90 countries. Those are the numbers that now are swelling its ranks. According to intelligence estimates, this includes at least 150 Americans that we know of.

Yet over the last 10 or so months, the administration has put forth a reluctant and half-hearted and ineffective effort to assist our partners there on the ground. I think we all recognize that this is up to the Iraqi Government to fight to win this. We understand that. They are in the lead. But they desperately need help. And I am not prepared to say that we shouldn't be providing any military support to the Kurds strung along a 180-mile, or several hundred mile, front, with 180,000 soldiers.

Thirty percent of those Kurdish soldiers are female. And those young women are down there with small arms trying to hold off ISIS fighters along that line. I am not prepared to say that we should not be providing any military support for those Kurds or for the Iraqi forces and any air support whatsoever. That is what this resolution does.

It didn't have to be this dire. Well over a year ago, when ISIS was building its force in the desert in Syria, it wasn't bombed and devastated when it could have been. It should have been. Many called for an effort at that point to have an air campaign by the U.S. and our partners to pummel ISIS as it moved across the desert in these long columns and begin the process to take city after city. It came out of Syria. First it headed to Fallujah, and there was a call to use air power to suppress

and use ISIS then. That step was not taken. And for 14 separate cities, city after city, all the way to Mosul, we watched every time the request be made for air power, and that was turned down.

Well, we are where we are now. And, frankly, the air campaign by the U.S. and our partners isn't pummeling the enemy now, as it should. Daily airstrikes against the Islamic State are one-sixth of what they were in the first campaign against the Taliban back in 2001. U.S. Special Forces should be authorized to call in airstrikes. Most Americans would be puzzled to learn that Canadian Special Forces are doing this, but we are not.

Pilots complain of having their hands tied. It has been estimated that three-quarters of U.S. aircraft return to base without discharging their weapons because of overly restrictive rules of engagement that don't allow them to engage ISIS. As one observer notes, with just ``piecemeal attacks, the Obama administration has been systematically squandering our air power advantage.'' I think that is right.

Adding to the problem, the regional forces on the ground that these airstrikes are supposed to be supporting [Page: H4457]

are badly undersupplied. After 10 months of fighting, there are still too many reports that the Kurdish Peshmerga, our allies, are outgunned on the front lines against ISIS. I have met with their foreign minister three times now as he has made this case. Again, 30 percent of his battalions, Kurdish battalions, are female battalions, and they can't

obtain the antitank weapons, the artillery, the mortars to use against ISIS in this battle.

While U.S. forces have been training some Iraqis, that has been done way behind the front lines. Rather than pairing up with smaller units and deploying with them to push them to the front--and that is, by the way, a technique that has proven effective in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past--this has not been done. U.S. advisers are unable to bolster Iraqi units when they come under attack or to call in airstrikes by U.S. planes. We don't have the capacity to do that. And that limitation tragically

helped Ramadi fall.

Mr. Speaker, our friends and allies and partners in this region of the world are in serious trouble from the threat of ISIS. They need our help. Employing our air power like we should, getting those weapons to the front lines that are needed by the Kurds, putting more U.S. Special Forces into place, would help turn this around.

But that is not at all what this measure calls for. As I say, it is quite the opposite. It calls for the President to remove United States Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on August 7 or after.

The Foreign Affairs Committee has held many hearings on ISIS and instability in the region. We haven't heard any witnesses make the case that complete withdrawal is what is needed.

What would happen to Iraq, what would happen to Jordan, what would happen to civilians in the theater? I think we can all agree that situation would compound.

This is the question in front of us today: Do we pull the modest number of our modest presence out of this theater and see ISIS run wild across the Iraqi desert with no help from the United States? I don't think so.

There is no military-only answer to the ISIS challenge. The Iraqi Government must do far more to reconcile with Sunnis, building confidence and empowering them to take on ISIS. ISIS must be attacked financially, and its propaganda must be relentlessly challenged. And Arab leaders need to lead. But just as there is no military-only answer, there is no answer without a military component of helping the Kurds and helping those

who are fighting ISIS. And, right now, the U.S. role, as much as we may regret it, is needed desperately.

Mr. Speaker, in the national security interest of the United States, I ask all Members to oppose H. Con. Res. 55.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:39 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55.

Let me first say that I believe Congress needs to do its job and pass an AUMF, which is the Authorization for Use of Military Force. We should have acted on this months ago. So this is the right message. But, with only the highest respect to my colleague from Massachusetts, I believe that withdrawal by a date certain at this time is the wrong policy.

This measure would direct the President to remove all U.S. Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria since August 7, 2014, except those needed to protect American diplomatic facilities and personnel. That is no way to defeat ISIS or to help the people of Iraq and Syria. I cannot vote for a policy I do not support. However, I share the frustration voiced by Mr. McGovern, Ms. Lee, and many others.

I have said time and time again that Congress should pass a new AUMF. We owe it to the American people, we should do our job, and we owe it to our men and women in uniform. Congressional inaction on an AUMF is inexcusable. Congress has had months to consider the President's language, and it is well past time we act.

Right now, the administration is using the resolution we passed after September 11, 2001, as the legal justification to fight ISIS. This is deeply problematic.

First of all, the 2001 AUMF has none of the limits many of us are seeking. The American people have no stomach for another large-scale, open-ended commitment of American troops in the Middle East. It was our disastrous intervention in Iraq last decade that set the stage for the rise of ISIS in the first place. This is a new challenge, and we need new parameters to define our mission and our goals.

At the same time, using a 2001 authorization for a 2015 conflict sets a terrible precedent. What happens in 5 years when the next administration does the same thing and 5 years after that and 5 years after that? We didn't vote for perpetual war, and we need a new AUMF.

We cannot allow that outcome. With a new AUMF, I hope it will be a bipartisan effort. I hope it will be the hallmark of our work on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

I commend my friend, Mr. McGovern, for taking a stand on this issue, and we are in agreement that the United States must avoid another failed open-ended war in the Middle East. But there is a role for the United States in this region, and we should not just vote to withdraw. I believe that would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

The United States has already made a difference by supporting the Iraqis and the Syrians who are fighting ISIS. It is a difficult fight, but I don't think we can walk away.

With American leadership, we were able to prevent a wholesale slaughter of Yazidi people. With American help, our Iraqi partners were able to maintain control of the Mosul Dam, which, if breached by ISIS, could have resulted in the death and displacement of up to 2 million people. With American assistance, the Iraqi Security Forces and the moderate Syrian opposition are taking back territory, too slowly, but they are taking back territory, particularly in the south.

The Foreign Affairs Committee just had a hearing earlier this morning and we saw horrific situations of children being gassed in Syria. There is no good side in Syria. We have got to somehow let the Free Syrian Army or the rebels, the well-vetted moderate rebels, we have got to help them, and that is why I believe there is still a role for us to play. A precipitous withdrawal by turning our heads away because we are fed up and disgusted, I think, is not the right move.

So this fight is far from over, and the United States has a critical role to play. We need an authorization that defines a role for the United States, a limited role, and that is the measure I will support.

I, again, do want to thank Mr. McGovern for bringing this issue to the floor. He is a thoughtful, effective colleague. And while I appreciate his resolution, I commend him for focusing this Congress on this important issue.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

[Time: 13:45]

1:40 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55.

Let me first say that I believe Congress needs to do its job and pass an AUMF, which is the Authorization for Use of Military Force. We should have acted on this months ago. So this is the right message. But, with only the highest respect to my colleague from Massachusetts, I believe that withdrawal by a date certain at this time is the wrong policy.

This measure would direct the President to remove all U.S. Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria since August 7, 2014, except those needed to protect American diplomatic facilities and personnel. That is no way to defeat ISIS or to help the people of Iraq and Syria. I cannot vote for a policy I do not support. However, I share the frustration voiced by Mr. McGovern, Ms. Lee, and many others.

I have said time and time again that Congress should pass a new AUMF. We owe it to the American people, we should do our job, and we owe it to our men and women in uniform. Congressional inaction on an AUMF is inexcusable. Congress has had months to consider the President's language, and it is well past time we act.

Right now, the administration is using the resolution we passed after September 11, 2001, as the legal justification to fight ISIS. This is deeply problematic.

First of all, the 2001 AUMF has none of the limits many of us are seeking. The American people have no stomach for another large-scale, open-ended commitment of American troops in the Middle East. It was our disastrous intervention in Iraq last decade that set the stage for the rise of ISIS in the first place. This is a new challenge, and we need new parameters to define our mission and our goals.

At the same time, using a 2001 authorization for a 2015 conflict sets a terrible precedent. What happens in 5 years when the next administration does the same thing and 5 years after that and 5 years after that? We didn't vote for perpetual war, and we need a new AUMF.

We cannot allow that outcome. With a new AUMF, I hope it will be a bipartisan effort. I hope it will be the hallmark of our work on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

I commend my friend, Mr. McGovern, for taking a stand on this issue, and we are in agreement that the United States must avoid another failed open-ended war in the Middle East. But there is a role for the United States in this region, and we should not just vote to withdraw. I believe that would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

The United States has already made a difference by supporting the Iraqis and the Syrians who are fighting ISIS. It is a difficult fight, but I don't think we can walk away.

With American leadership, we were able to prevent a wholesale slaughter of Yazidi people. With American help, our Iraqi partners were able to maintain control of the Mosul Dam, which, if breached by ISIS, could have resulted in the death and displacement of up to 2 million people. With American assistance, the Iraqi Security Forces and the moderate Syrian opposition are taking back territory, too slowly, but they are taking back territory, particularly in the south.

The Foreign Affairs Committee just had a hearing earlier this morning and we saw horrific situations of children being gassed in Syria. There is no good side in Syria. We have got to somehow let the Free Syrian Army or the rebels, the well-vetted moderate rebels, we have got to help them, and that is why I believe there is still a role for us to play. A precipitous withdrawal by turning our heads away because we are fed up and disgusted, I think, is not the right move.

So this fight is far from over, and the United States has a critical role to play. We need an authorization that defines a role for the United States, a limited role, and that is the measure I will support.

I, again, do want to thank Mr. McGovern for bringing this issue to the floor. He is a thoughtful, effective colleague. And while I appreciate his resolution, I commend him for focusing this Congress on this important issue.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

[Time: 13:45]

1:44 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H. Con. Res. 55, which comes before the House today under the provisions of the War Powers resolution. Along with my colleagues Walter Jones and Barbara Lee, we introduced this bipartisan bill to force a debate on how Congress has failed to carry out its constitutional duty to authorize our military engagement in Iraq and Syria.

Last August, the President authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. For over 10 months, the United States has been engaged in hostilities in Iraq and Syria without debating an authorization for this war.

On February 11 of this year, over 4 months ago, the President sent to Congress the text for an Authorization for Use of Military Force on combating the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere; yet Congress has failed to act on that AUMF or to bring an alternative to the House floor, even though we continue to authorize and appropriate money for sustained military operations in those countries.

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. [Page: H4458]

Our servicemen and -women are brave and dedicated. Congress, however, is guilty of moral cowardice. The Republican 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.

This resolution 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--6 months.

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 should come home. It is that simple.

Two weeks ago, General John Allen, the U.S. envoy for the U.S.-led coalition that is fighting ISIL, said that this fight may take ``a generation or more.'' According to the Pentagon, we have spent more than $2.74 billion in the fight against the Islamic State. That is roughly $9.1 million each and every day. We have approximately 3,500 boots on the ground, and that number is rising.

If we are going to invest a generation or more of our blood and our treasure in this war and if we are going to continue to tell our Armed Forces that we expect them to fight and die in these wars, it seems to me the least we can do is stand up and vote to authorize these wars or we should end them.

We owe that to the American people. We owe that to our troops and their families. We owe that to the oath of office that each of us took to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to hear all kinds of crazy today about this resolution. Some Members will say that it demands the withdrawal of our troops in 30 days. That is true if you only read half of a sentence in the bill. The other half makes clear that the President has until the end of the year to withdraw our troops.

Some Members will claim that this resolution will undercut our troops while they are carrying out bombing campaigns and training Iraqi and Syrian soldiers under dangerous conditions. They will claim it will deny the Iraqis and the Kurds our critical support in the fight against the brutal terror and threat of ISIS. They will claim that it will leave ISIS unchecked by U.S. airpower and allow them to overrun the region.

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that it is precisely these threats and these challenges that make this debate so urgent. With such compelling issues at hand, how can Congress stand by and do nothing? How can Congress not have this debate and vote on an authorization for this war?

By setting a clear deadline Congress cannot ignore, this resolution provides a strong guarantee that Congress will finally do its job, that Congress will honor its duty to our troops and to all Americans by debating and voting on an authorization for this war. Our troops deserve a Congress that has the courage to stand with them.

I see the courage and sacrifice of our uniformed men and women, but I see nothing but cowardice from the leadership in this House. If they believe we should send our military forces to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS and possibly die over there, then, for heaven's sake, we should do our duty--we should do our job--and bring an AUMF to the House floor, debate it, and take some responsibility for this war.

That is all this resolution is trying to do. Give the leadership of this House a deadline that even it can't ignore. Either enact an AUMF over the next 6 months or withdraw our forces from Iraq and Syria, one or the other.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:44 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H. Con. Res. 55, which comes before the House today under the provisions of the War Powers resolution. Along with my colleagues Walter Jones and Barbara Lee, we introduced this bipartisan bill to force a debate on how Congress has failed to carry out its constitutional duty to authorize our military engagement in Iraq and Syria.

Last August, the President authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. For over 10 months, the United States has been engaged in hostilities in Iraq and Syria without debating an authorization for this war.

On February 11 of this year, over 4 months ago, the President sent to Congress the text for an Authorization for Use of Military Force on combating the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere; yet Congress has failed to act on that AUMF or to bring an alternative to the House floor, even though we continue to authorize and appropriate money for sustained military operations in those countries.

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. [Page: H4458]

Our servicemen and -women are brave and dedicated. Congress, however, is guilty of moral cowardice. The Republican 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.

This resolution 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--6 months.

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 should come home. It is that simple.

Two weeks ago, General John Allen, the U.S. envoy for the U.S.-led coalition that is fighting ISIL, said that this fight may take ``a generation or more.'' According to the Pentagon, we have spent more than $2.74 billion in the fight against the Islamic State. That is roughly $9.1 million each and every day. We have approximately 3,500 boots on the ground, and that number is rising.

If we are going to invest a generation or more of our blood and our treasure in this war and if we are going to continue to tell our Armed Forces that we expect them to fight and die in these wars, it seems to me the least we can do is stand up and vote to authorize these wars or we should end them.

We owe that to the American people. We owe that to our troops and their families. We owe that to the oath of office that each of us took to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to hear all kinds of crazy today about this resolution. Some Members will say that it demands the withdrawal of our troops in 30 days. That is true if you only read half of a sentence in the bill. The other half makes clear that the President has until the end of the year to withdraw our troops.

Some Members will claim that this resolution will undercut our troops while they are carrying out bombing campaigns and training Iraqi and Syrian soldiers under dangerous conditions. They will claim it will deny the Iraqis and the Kurds our critical support in the fight against the brutal terror and threat of ISIS. They will claim that it will leave ISIS unchecked by U.S. airpower and allow them to overrun the region.

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that it is precisely these threats and these challenges that make this debate so urgent. With such compelling issues at hand, how can Congress stand by and do nothing? How can Congress not have this debate and vote on an authorization for this war?

By setting a clear deadline Congress cannot ignore, this resolution provides a strong guarantee that Congress will finally do its job, that Congress will honor its duty to our troops and to all Americans by debating and voting on an authorization for this war. Our troops deserve a Congress that has the courage to stand with them.

I see the courage and sacrifice of our uniformed men and women, but I see nothing but cowardice from the leadership in this House. If they believe we should send our military forces to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS and possibly die over there, then, for heaven's sake, we should do our duty--we should do our job--and bring an AUMF to the House floor, debate it, and take some responsibility for this war.

That is all this resolution is trying to do. Give the leadership of this House a deadline that even it can't ignore. Either enact an AUMF over the next 6 months or withdraw our forces from Iraq and Syria, one or the other.

I reserve the balance of my time.

1:50 PM EDT

Ed Royce, R-CA 39th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Again, the resolution before us today has nothing to do with an Authorization for Use of Military Force; it is a withdrawal resolution. I don't want to leave some of the oversimplified Authorization for Use of Military Force rhetoric here unaddressed.

The real question that the proponents are begging is: What should the United States be doing to combat ISIS? The answer with regard to today's resolution would be nothing and that we should withdraw from combating the ISIS threat. That would be irresponsible and dangerous.

I don't disagree that the current state of the legal authorities the President is using against ISIS is less than ideal from our institution's perspective, but that does not equal illegal and unconstitutional. I say this as someone who is deeply concerned about the President's weak and unstrategic response to the ISIS threat.

The President has short-circuited this debate by claiming complete authority under prior statutes to use our Armed Forces against ISIS. His administration has made the case that ISIS, which was previously known as al Qaeda in Iraq, ``has been an enemy of the United States within the scope of the 2001 authorization--continuously--since at least 2004.'' He has made the case that ISIS grew out of al Qaeda in Iraq and, in point of fact, that that is where ISIS came from.

No AUMF we could draft could give the President more operational authority than he already claims. Indeed, the draft text he sent asks us to constrain the authority that he already has and complicating, by the way, the effort to reach consensus.

1:50 PM EDT

Ed Royce, R-CA 39th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Again, the resolution before us today has nothing to do with an Authorization for Use of Military Force; it is a withdrawal resolution. I don't want to leave some of the oversimplified Authorization for Use of Military Force rhetoric here unaddressed.

The real question that the proponents are begging is: What should the United States be doing to combat ISIS? The answer with regard to today's resolution would be nothing and that we should withdraw from combating the ISIS threat. That would be irresponsible and dangerous.

I don't disagree that the current state of the legal authorities the President is using against ISIS is less than ideal from our institution's perspective, but that does not equal illegal and unconstitutional. I say this as someone who is deeply concerned about the President's weak and unstrategic response to the ISIS threat.

The President has short-circuited this debate by claiming complete authority under prior statutes to use our Armed Forces against ISIS. His administration has made the case that ISIS, which was previously known as al Qaeda in Iraq, ``has been an enemy of the United States within the scope of the 2001 authorization--continuously--since at least 2004.'' He has made the case that ISIS grew out of al Qaeda in Iraq and, in point of fact, that that is where ISIS came from.

No AUMF we could draft could give the President more operational authority than he already claims. Indeed, the draft text he sent asks us to constrain the authority that he already has and complicating, by the way, the effort to reach consensus.

1:52 PM EDT

Ed Royce, R-CA 39th

Mr. ROYCE. I yield myself an additional 2 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, just last week, this body considered a Defense Appropriations amendment that would have used Congress' constitutional power of the purse to force the AUMF issue, cutting off funding if Congress does not enact an ISIS-specific AUMF within the next year. That

proposal failed in this institution.

The reality is that Congress has made decisions that amount to, in a practical view, disagreeing with the authors of this resolution. Allowing the President to use current force authorities against ISIS is preferable to refusing to confront the threat ISIS poses to our national security altogether.

Now, I will continue to work with Ranking Member Eliot Engel and all of our colleagues to see if we can find a way forward on a revised and updated authorization that is focused on the vicious and growing threat posed by ISIS. That is what we need to be working on together.

Merely acting without a credible way forward is foolhardy. It is not brave. A divisive and unsuccessful AUMF process would be perceived by our allies, our partners, and our enemies as a vote of no confidence in the fight against ISIS, resulting in a significant blow to the national security of the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler), who chairs the Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

1:54 PM EDT

Vicky Hartzler, R-MO 4th

Mrs. HARTZLER. I thank the chairman.

Mr. Speaker, while I respect my colleague who offered this amendment, I oppose this resolution and urge my colleagues to vote in opposition.

This unwise resolution would call for the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from the fight against ISIL and leave this growing evil to continue to expand, terrorizing millions.

This resolution would do more than halt all U.S. strikes against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, removing the approximately 3,500 U.S. trainers from Iraq; it would unwisely deny the Kurdish Peshmerga critical support to fight against the brutal and barbaric terrorist group, leaving them alone to stop this threat.

This resolution would leave ISIL unchecked by U.S. airpower and allow the vicious terrorist group to gain strength as it would further destabilize the region by threatening allies, such as Jordan, and create a largely uncontested safe haven from which ISIL could plot attacks against the United States.

It would allow the continued brutality of a group that beheads innocents, including Americans, that forces women and children into sexual slavery, that destroys religious heritage sites, and that targets Christians and others.

This resolution has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against ISIL; instead, this resolution simply unilaterally withdraws our U.S. forces from fighting back against this evil. [Page: H4459]

I urge opposition to this resolution.

1:54 PM EDT

Vicky Hartzler, R-MO 4th

Mrs. HARTZLER. I thank the chairman.

Mr. Speaker, while I respect my colleague who offered this amendment, I oppose this resolution and urge my colleagues to vote in opposition.

This unwise resolution would call for the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from the fight against ISIL and leave this growing evil to continue to expand, terrorizing millions.

This resolution would do more than halt all U.S. strikes against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, removing the approximately 3,500 U.S. trainers from Iraq; it would unwisely deny the Kurdish Peshmerga critical support to fight against the brutal and barbaric terrorist group, leaving them alone to stop this threat.

This resolution would leave ISIL unchecked by U.S. airpower and allow the vicious terrorist group to gain strength as it would further destabilize the region by threatening allies, such as Jordan, and create a largely uncontested safe haven from which ISIL could plot attacks against the United States.

It would allow the continued brutality of a group that beheads innocents, including Americans, that forces women and children into sexual slavery, that destroys religious heritage sites, and that targets Christians and others.

This resolution has nothing to do with authorizing the use of military force against ISIL; instead, this resolution simply unilaterally withdraws our U.S. forces from fighting back against this evil. [Page: H4459]

I urge opposition to this resolution.

1:56 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, again, let me say that what we have here, as well-intentioned as I know it is, is a unilateral withdrawal, clean and simple. I understand the frustration, but this is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I think we need to be very, very careful before we do these things unilaterally.

It is now my pleasure to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly).

1:56 PM EDT

Gerry Connolly, D-VA 11th

Mr. CONNOLLY. I thank my good friend Eliot Engel from New York, the distinguished ranking member of the full committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and I thank my friend Ed Royce, the chairman of the full committee. They are both distinguished men, and I echo their sentiments.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in reluctant opposition to the measure offered by my friend from my home State of Massachusetts, Mr. McGovern, whose sincerity can never be questioned in this body.

I understand the purpose underlying this legislation, and I identify with the frustration that it expresses as, I think, do all of us.

Proponents of the measure want Congress to debate and vote on the use of military force in Iraq and Syria, and so do I. Proponents of this measure believe that Congress has failed to perform its constitutional duty by not taking up the Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and so do I.

In fact, I believe the failure to debate an AUMF against ISIL is a continuation of a sad but 60-year pattern of Congress' abrogating one of its most fundamental constitutional roles and responsibilities. For an institution that constantly laments its subjugation at the hands of the executive branch, the retreat from its constitutional responsibility on this matter, frankly, is jaw-dropping.

It is time Congress makes crystal clear to the administration, to our allies, to our constituents, and to our military families the circumstances and parameters under which we would, once again, authorize engagement for our and by our men and women in uniform in this tumultuous region of the world or, for that matter, anywhere; but one cannot endorse the tactic of this measure.

This is constructed to be a sort of sword of Damocles that threatens us, Congress, with the automatic withdrawal of our forces in the region in order to force congressional action with an AUMF.

Congress should not heed such a message, nor should it cater to such a sword hanging over its head in order to do its job. An ill-defined mission with no clear mandate and conflicting objectives is hardly a formula for a military or a political victory.

We should welcome a robust and transparent debate on the matter of an AUMF but not at any cost on the battlefield itself--a withdrawal, as this resolution proposes, mandated irrespective of battlefield reality, of battlefield progress lately against ISIS, a withdrawal mandated irrespective of our commitments to the Kurds or, for that matter, to the Iraqi Government itself.

[Time: 14:00]

That would be irresponsible and unworthy of a great power, however noble the underlying cause is. We have responsibilities on the ground.

This resolution was drafted, as they say in Latin, ceteris paribus--all other things being equal. That is to say, in a perfect world. We don't live in a perfect world. Our engagements are what they are. Our commitments are what they are.

I don't share the distinguished chairman's criticism of this administration. It is a murky region to begin with. Our leverage is limited; our choices are dark and complicated. But we are making progress in the region as we speak. To simply ignore all of that and insist we withdraw, in my view, would be irresponsible and unworthy of this great Nation.

1:56 PM EDT

Gerry Connolly, D-VA 11th

Mr. CONNOLLY. I thank my good friend Eliot Engel from New York, the distinguished ranking member of the full committee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and I thank my friend Ed Royce, the chairman of the full committee. They are both distinguished men, and I echo their sentiments.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in reluctant opposition to the measure offered by my friend from my home State of Massachusetts, Mr. McGovern, whose sincerity can never be questioned in this body.

I understand the purpose underlying this legislation, and I identify with the frustration that it expresses as, I think, do all of us.

Proponents of the measure want Congress to debate and vote on the use of military force in Iraq and Syria, and so do I. Proponents of this measure believe that Congress has failed to perform its constitutional duty by not taking up the Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and so do I.

In fact, I believe the failure to debate an AUMF against ISIL is a continuation of a sad but 60-year pattern of Congress' abrogating one of its most fundamental constitutional roles and responsibilities. For an institution that constantly laments its subjugation at the hands of the executive branch, the retreat from its constitutional responsibility on this matter, frankly, is jaw-dropping.

It is time Congress makes crystal clear to the administration, to our allies, to our constituents, and to our military families the circumstances and parameters under which we would, once again, authorize engagement for our and by our men and women in uniform in this tumultuous region of the world or, for that matter, anywhere; but one cannot endorse the tactic of this measure.

This is constructed to be a sort of sword of Damocles that threatens us, Congress, with the automatic withdrawal of our forces in the region in order to force congressional action with an AUMF.

Congress should not heed such a message, nor should it cater to such a sword hanging over its head in order to do its job. An ill-defined mission with no clear mandate and conflicting objectives is hardly a formula for a military or a political victory.

We should welcome a robust and transparent debate on the matter of an AUMF but not at any cost on the battlefield itself--a withdrawal, as this resolution proposes, mandated irrespective of battlefield reality, of battlefield progress lately against ISIS, a withdrawal mandated irrespective of our commitments to the Kurds or, for that matter, to the Iraqi Government itself.

[Time: 14:00]

That would be irresponsible and unworthy of a great power, however noble the underlying cause is. We have responsibilities on the ground.

This resolution was drafted, as they say in Latin, ceteris paribus--all other things being equal. That is to say, in a perfect world. We don't live in a perfect world. Our engagements are what they are. Our commitments are what they are.

I don't share the distinguished chairman's criticism of this administration. It is a murky region to begin with. Our leverage is limited; our choices are dark and complicated. But we are making progress in the region as we speak. To simply ignore all of that and insist we withdraw, in my view, would be irresponsible and unworthy of this great Nation.

2:00 PM EDT

Joe Wilson, R-SC 2nd

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. I thank Chairman Royce for his leadership, along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel.

I am in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55, which would withdraw U.S. forces currently deployed to Iraq and Syria, which are providing regional stability to protect American families. Sadly, this resolution will undermine America's current campaign to fight terrorists overseas. It would end our air campaign in Iraq and Syria, stop our training and equipping of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, as well as moderate Syrian opposition forces, and abandon our commitment to our partners in

the region.

The resolution would promote ISIS/Daesh's momentum, create safe havens for terrorists to attack American families, and increase the Tehran regime's influence of a murderous ideology that declares: Death to America, death to Israel. It would allow Daesh to become an even bigger threat to American families, as we have seen with attacks from New York to Boston. Retreating will create safe havens to enable more attacks on American families. We must remember September the 11th in the global war on

terrorism. Unilateral withdrawal will not stop the war, as our enemies will continue their attacks.

The resolution does not consider the situation on the ground in Iraq or Syria or the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Indeed, this morning, Chairman Martin Dempsey said that withdrawing the troops would be a mistake and put America at greater risk.

As the grateful dad of two sons who have served in Iraq, I would prefer a clear strategy of victory for our mission in Iraq and Syria. We should not abandon the efforts of peace through strength. I want to work with Members across the aisle to develop a better approach. It is my hope we will take steps to accomplish this.

While Operation Inherent Resolve has shortcomings, it is the only course of action that takes steps toward stopping jihadist extremists overseas. I am opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 55 and urge my colleagues to vote against it as well.

2:00 PM EDT

Joe Wilson, R-SC 2nd

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. I thank Chairman Royce for his leadership, along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel.

I am in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55, which would withdraw U.S. forces currently deployed to Iraq and Syria, which are providing regional stability to protect American families. Sadly, this resolution will undermine America's current campaign to fight terrorists overseas. It would end our air campaign in Iraq and Syria, stop our training and equipping of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, as well as moderate Syrian opposition forces, and abandon our commitment to our partners in

the region.

The resolution would promote ISIS/Daesh's momentum, create safe havens for terrorists to attack American families, and increase the Tehran regime's influence of a murderous ideology that declares: Death to America, death to Israel. It would allow Daesh to become an even bigger threat to American families, as we have seen with attacks from New York to Boston. Retreating will create safe havens to enable more attacks on American families. We must remember September the 11th in the global war on

terrorism. Unilateral withdrawal will not stop the war, as our enemies will continue their attacks.

The resolution does not consider the situation on the ground in Iraq or Syria or the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Indeed, this morning, Chairman Martin Dempsey said that withdrawing the troops would be a mistake and put America at greater risk.

As the grateful dad of two sons who have served in Iraq, I would prefer a clear strategy of victory for our mission in Iraq and Syria. We should not abandon the efforts of peace through strength. I want to work with Members across the aisle to develop a better approach. It is my hope we will take steps to accomplish this.

While Operation Inherent Resolve has shortcomings, it is the only course of action that takes steps toward stopping jihadist extremists overseas. I am opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 55 and urge my colleagues to vote against it as well.

2:01 PM EDT

Walter B. Jones Jr., R-NC 3rd

Mr. JONES. I thank Mr. McGovern for the time.

Mr. Speaker, as many people have said today, even those who are for the resolution and against the resolution, we have a constitutional duty. That duty is to debate. I want to quote James Madison, to put the context on what we are trying to say today: ``The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.'' Not the executive branch, but the legislature.

The frustration that we have felt goes back to August of 2014, when Jim McGovern and Barbara Lee and Walter Jones wrote asking the Speaker of the House to allow us to have a debate. That is why Mr. McGovern, Barbara Lee, and I have put this resolution in today, to force a debate. We wouldn't be talking about the Middle East if it weren't for this resolution.

In September, I sent my own letter to Speaker Boehner and asked for a full debate on an Authorization for Use of Military Force in the region. None of these letters have been answered. None of them. Last September, Speaker Boehner told The New York Times that he wanted to wait until 2015 to bring an AUMF to the floor of the House for a debate and a vote to avoid bringing it up during a lame duck session. Okay, I can accept that, that makes good sense. It does.

In December, Speaker Boehner said the House Republicans would work with the President to get an AUMF request approved if the President sent one to Congress. As Mr. McGovern just said, he did send us one in February. Most people--Democrat and Republican--didn't particularly like what was in the AUMF, but at least it was the vehicle for the debate. But then in February when the Speaker of the House received it, he didn't do anything with it. Nothing has happened.

As has been said by speakers before me, last month Jim McGovern, Barbara Lee, and I sent another letter to the Speaker of the House asking for a debate. Nothing happened. That is the reason this resolution is on the floor. It is because, as Madison said: House, do your job. He didn't say: Executive branch, do your job. He said the legislative branch. That is us. We need to do this on behalf of the Constitution and on behalf of our young men and women in uniform who will give

their life for this country.

As has been said before me, it has been 314 days since President Obama started launching airstrikes and putting troops in Iraq and Syria without receiving the authorization by Congress. According to the Pentagon, we have spent over $9 million a day fighting ISIS, for a total of $2.7 billion. Isn't this another reason that we should be debating the Middle East and our role in the Middle East? I think so.

Let me repeat James Madison: ``The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.''

2:01 PM EDT

Walter B. Jones Jr., R-NC 3rd

Mr. JONES. I thank Mr. McGovern for the time.

Mr. Speaker, as many people have said today, even those who are for the resolution and against the resolution, we have a constitutional duty. That duty is to debate. I want to quote James Madison, to put the context on what we are trying to say today: ``The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.'' Not the executive branch, but the legislature.

The frustration that we have felt goes back to August of 2014, when Jim McGovern and Barbara Lee and Walter Jones wrote asking the Speaker of the House to allow us to have a debate. That is why Mr. McGovern, Barbara Lee, and I have put this resolution in today, to force a debate. We wouldn't be talking about the Middle East if it weren't for this resolution.

In September, I sent my own letter to Speaker Boehner and asked for a full debate on an Authorization for Use of Military Force in the region. None of these letters have been answered. None of them. Last September, Speaker Boehner told The New York Times that he wanted to wait until 2015 to bring an AUMF to the floor of the House for a debate and a vote to avoid bringing it up during a lame duck session. Okay, I can accept that, that makes good sense. It does.

In December, Speaker Boehner said the House Republicans would work with the President to get an AUMF request approved if the President sent one to Congress. As Mr. McGovern just said, he did send us one in February. Most people--Democrat and Republican--didn't particularly like what was in the AUMF, but at least it was the vehicle for the debate. But then in February when the Speaker of the House received it, he didn't do anything with it. Nothing has happened.

As has been said by speakers before me, last month Jim McGovern, Barbara Lee, and I sent another letter to the Speaker of the House asking for a debate. Nothing happened. That is the reason this resolution is on the floor. It is because, as Madison said: House, do your job. He didn't say: Executive branch, do your job. He said the legislative branch. That is us. We need to do this on behalf of the Constitution and on behalf of our young men and women in uniform who will give

their life for this country.

As has been said before me, it has been 314 days since President Obama started launching airstrikes and putting troops in Iraq and Syria without receiving the authorization by Congress. According to the Pentagon, we have spent over $9 million a day fighting ISIS, for a total of $2.7 billion. Isn't this another reason that we should be debating the Middle East and our role in the Middle East? I think so.

Let me repeat James Madison: ``The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.''

2:04 PM EDT

Walter B. Jones Jr., R-NC 3rd

Mr. JONES. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that I bring these pictures to the floor of those who give their life for this country. This is a flag-draped coffin being pulled off a transport plane in Dover, Delaware, and it is time that we meet our obligation and debate this issue of war because we are not doing our job. We owe it to the American people, to the Constitution, and to those who wear the uniform.

I thank Mr. McGovern for the time.

THE CONSTITUTION PROJECT,

Washington, DC, June 17, 2015.

Hon. JIM MCGOVERN,

House of Representatives,

Hon. WALTER JONES,

House of Representatives,

Hon. BARBARA LEE,

House of Representatives,

DEAR REPRESENTATIVES MCGOVERN, JONES AND LEE: We write to applaud you for your efforts to compel Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility to decide on war. For ten months President Obama has prosecuted the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) under a specious legal claim that Congress authorized it fourteen years ago. Congress has done no such thing. It is high time that Members weighed in.

We take no position on grave policy choices about whether to continue to use military force against ISIL, and if so how. But Congress must. The Framers vested the war power in the legislative branch precisely because they believed that young Americans should only be put in harm's way when the people, through their representatives' collective judgment, approved it.

We know this is the most difficult issue that Members face. It is also your most important responsibility. If Congress agrees that U.S. service men and women should be engaged in battle, it is Members' constitutional duty to say so. If Congress disagrees, those men and women should come home. What Congress cannot do is continue to avoid the question. We support H. Con. Res. 55 because it would force this long-overdue debate and vote.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, via Scott Roehm at The Constitution Project, with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mickey Edwards,

Vice President, Aspen Institute; former Member of Congress (R-OK) and Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee; co-chair The Constitution Project War Powers Committee

Louis Fisher,

Specialist in Constitutional Law, Law Library of Congress (ret.); Scholar in Residence, The Constitution Project

Virginia Sloan,

President, The Constitution Project.

2:05 PM EDT

Joe Wilson, R-SC 2nd

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. I thank Chairman Royce for his leadership, along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel.

I am in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55, which would withdraw U.S. forces currently deployed to Iraq and Syria, which are providing regional stability to protect American families. Sadly, this resolution will undermine America's current campaign to fight terrorists overseas. It would end our air campaign in Iraq and Syria, stop our training and equipping of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, as well as moderate Syrian opposition forces, and abandon our commitment to our partners in

the region.

The resolution would promote ISIS/Daesh's momentum, create safe havens for terrorists to attack American families, and increase the Tehran regime's influence of a murderous ideology that declares: Death to America, death to Israel. It would allow Daesh to become an even bigger threat to American families, as we have seen with attacks from New York to Boston. Retreating will create safe havens to enable more attacks on American families. We must remember September the 11th in the global war on

terrorism. Unilateral withdrawal will not stop the war, as our enemies will continue their attacks.

The resolution does not consider the situation on the ground in Iraq or Syria or the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Indeed, this morning, Chairman Martin Dempsey said that withdrawing the troops would be a mistake and put America at greater risk.

As the grateful dad of two sons who have served in Iraq, I would prefer a clear strategy of victory for our mission in Iraq and Syria. We should not abandon the efforts of peace through strength. I want to work with Members across the aisle to develop a better approach. It is my hope we will take steps to accomplish this.

While Operation Inherent Resolve has shortcomings, it is the only course of action that takes steps toward stopping jihadist extremists overseas. I am opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 55 and urge my colleagues to vote against it as well.

2:05 PM EDT

Joe Wilson, R-SC 2nd

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. I thank Chairman Royce for his leadership, along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel.

I am in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55, which would withdraw U.S. forces currently deployed to Iraq and Syria, which are providing regional stability to protect American families. Sadly, this resolution will undermine America's current campaign to fight terrorists overseas. It would end our air campaign in Iraq and Syria, stop our training and equipping of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, as well as moderate Syrian opposition forces, and abandon our commitment to our partners in

the region.

The resolution would promote ISIS/Daesh's momentum, create safe havens for terrorists to attack American families, and increase the Tehran regime's influence of a murderous ideology that declares: Death to America, death to Israel. It would allow Daesh to become an even bigger threat to American families, as we have seen with attacks from New York to Boston. Retreating will create safe havens to enable more attacks on American families. We must remember September the 11th in the global war on

terrorism. Unilateral withdrawal will not stop the war, as our enemies will continue their attacks.

The resolution does not consider the situation on the ground in Iraq or Syria or the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Indeed, this morning, Chairman Martin Dempsey said that withdrawing the troops would be a mistake and put America at greater risk.

As the grateful dad of two sons who have served in Iraq, I would prefer a clear strategy of victory for our mission in Iraq and Syria. We should not abandon the efforts of peace through strength. I want to work with Members across the aisle to develop a better approach. It is my hope we will take steps to accomplish this.

While Operation Inherent Resolve has shortcomings, it is the only course of action that takes steps toward stopping jihadist extremists overseas. I am opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 55 and urge my colleagues to vote against it as well.

2:05 PM EDT

Joe Wilson, R-SC 2nd

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. I thank Chairman Royce for his leadership, along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel.

I am in opposition to H. Con. Res. 55, which would withdraw U.S. forces currently deployed to Iraq and Syria, which are providing regional stability to protect American families. Sadly, this resolution will undermine America's current campaign to fight terrorists overseas. It would end our air campaign in Iraq and Syria, stop our training and equipping of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni tribal forces, as well as moderate Syrian opposition forces, and abandon our commitment to our partners in

the region.

The resolution would promote ISIS/Daesh's momentum, create safe havens for terrorists to attack American families, and increase the Tehran regime's influence of a murderous ideology that declares: Death to America, death to Israel. It would allow Daesh to become an even bigger threat to American families, as we have seen with attacks from New York to Boston. Retreating will create safe havens to enable more attacks on American families. We must remember September the 11th in the global war on

terrorism. Unilateral withdrawal will not stop the war, as our enemies will continue their attacks.

The resolution does not consider the situation on the ground in Iraq or Syria or the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Indeed, this morning, Chairman Martin Dempsey said that withdrawing the troops would be a mistake and put America at greater risk.

As the grateful dad of two sons who have served in Iraq, I would prefer a clear strategy of victory for our mission in Iraq and Syria. We should not abandon the efforts of peace through strength. I want to work with Members across the aisle to develop a better approach. It is my hope we will take steps to accomplish this.

While Operation Inherent Resolve has shortcomings, it is the only course of action that takes steps toward stopping jihadist extremists overseas. I am opposed to House Concurrent Resolution 55 and urge my colleagues to vote against it as well.

2:07 PM EDT

Brendan Boyle, D-PA 13th

Mr. BRENDAN F. BOYLE of Pennsylvania. I thank the ranking member and also the chair of our committee. I also want to thank the sponsor and author of this resolution, Mr. McGovern. Thanks to him, we finally have a chance to discuss and debate this issue right here on the House floor.

Mr. Speaker, before I entered this body, when I was a State legislator and a candidate, I noticed back last August-September, as the ISIS/Daesh movement was growing in Iraq and Syria and other parts of the Middle East, the British Parliament rushed back to London to debate a war resolution. I was deeply disappointed, as an American citizen, and, quite frankly, shocked that the United States Congress did not do exactly the same thing; to come here and outline and debate the parameters by which

we would authorize the President to wage war against this evil and barbaric threat. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Several months ago--I think it might have been back in January--President Obama did submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, of which I am proudly a member, an Authorization for Use of Military Force. Unfortunately, that AUMF, somewhat predictably, got attacked by some on the right as insufficient in some areas; and, frankly, got attacked by some on the left as insufficient in other areas. Both sides had legitimate discussions and concerns.

What went wrong after that is that we didn't actually have that discussion or debate right here on the House floor. It was too easy for Members of this body to just say: This is too difficult; we are going to let the President handle it, and we are going to shirk our responsibility. That is wrong.

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. I do not support the resolution that is in front of us and will not be voting for it. I think an outright withdrawal of troops within the next 6 weeks would be a terrible mistake and is not the approach that we should take, but I do believe it is about time we do our duty and responsibility and have this discussion and debate. It is about time we, the Congress of the United States, on a bipartisan basis, come up with an actionable plan to fight and defeat ISIS, one

that is consistent with our values and at the same time one that does not inadvertently commit us to 5 and 10 years down the road responsibilities that we do not envision today.

2:11 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 13th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. McGovern, Mr. Jones, Ms. Lee, I thought the House would be screaming at the opportunity to justify sending young men and women to a part of the world that we believe is of danger to the entire community.

I am so amazed that people are saying that this resolution calls for the immediate withdrawal of our troops. I don't read it that way because I don't know of anything that justifies them being there, and this could be screaming for a reason why the administration and Members of Congress want these troops there.

I have no clue as to why people believe that these people, who have been fighting each other for thousands of years, are a threat to my Nation's national security. I don't know of any of my constituents that go to sleep at night worried about ISIS invading their jobless community.

I do know--because I am old enough to remember--that when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, immediately President Roosevelt called the Congress to declare war, and America, with pride, came out to support our Nation and our President.

Now, I don't see the connection between ISIS and being struck by Japanese and Germans, but I know one thing: When an American dies, when [Page: H4461]

they lose their lives, when we send them overseas, when they come back wounded or deranged, we have an obligation in this body to justify why we have done it.

I may be wrong, but the reason I think we run away from this responsibility is because we don't really feel the pain of the people we are sending all over the world and exposing them to losing their lives. Why don't we feel it? Don't we say, ``Thank you for your service''? Do we thank the people who don't come back? Do we explain and go to the funerals that I go to as to why they were there? Do we explain that the President of the United States and the Members of this House believe it is important

for them to be there? All you have to do is come here, declare war, or justify why the security of the United States is being threatened, and I then will be prepared to send somebody else's kids to fight this war to protect the rest of our country. We don't have a draft. We don't pay for the war.

2:14 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 13th

Mr. RANGEL. I conclude by saying that, when issues are serious enough for us to draft other people's kids, when they are serious enough for us to say that we are not going to borrow money from Communist China to pay for these wars, then I can be convinced, even if I disagree, that when this Congress and this President believes my country is being threatened, you count me in.

Until such time, we are waiting to hear about the threat to our national security so that we can make up our minds.

2:15 PM EDT

Lee M. Zeldin, R-NY 1st

Mr. ZELDIN. Mr. Speaker, only in Congress do you have a resolution presented to deauthorize the use of force because you want to authorize the use of force.

It is, quite frankly, pretty insulting that you would present a proposal to this body to withdraw troops and then accuse the other side of having moral cowardice for opposing the resolution.

There needs to be more mention of the President's strategy to defeat ISIS--or lack thereof. We have a duty here in Congress to set our troops up to succeed, not to fail.

There has been a lot of debate with regard to the Authorization for Use of Military Force. I am proud to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Chairman Royce has had multiple hearings discussing the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Secretary Kerry was before the committee. He was asked: ``Does this authorization authorize offensive action?''

He said: ``No.''

There was a five-paragraph letter since--with the authorization request--talking about the need to use Special Forces. We can't get a straight answer from this administration as to whether or not he is referring to ours.

Yes, we have a duty to set our troops up to succeed, and not fail. We had a Marine general in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee. When asked whether or not the general in charge of our troops overseas in Iraq has the ability to authorize the mission to take out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or capture actionable intelligence, he read a paragraph that simply said that that general can make a recommendation.

What is further insulting is just how many people don't even know the name of that two-star general. Not only does he not have the flexibility and resources he needs to accomplish the mission from the administration that is in charge right now, led by the Commander in Chief, my constituents--Americans--don't even know that gentleman's name.

Yes, there has been a lot of debate. We have a need to protect our troops. That is why I oppose this resolution.

2:15 PM EDT

Lee M. Zeldin, R-NY 1st

Mr. ZELDIN. Mr. Speaker, only in Congress do you have a resolution presented to deauthorize the use of force because you want to authorize the use of force.

It is, quite frankly, pretty insulting that you would present a proposal to this body to withdraw troops and then accuse the other side of having moral cowardice for opposing the resolution.

There needs to be more mention of the President's strategy to defeat ISIS--or lack thereof. We have a duty here in Congress to set our troops up to succeed, not to fail.

There has been a lot of debate with regard to the Authorization for Use of Military Force. I am proud to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Chairman Royce has had multiple hearings discussing the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Secretary Kerry was before the committee. He was asked: ``Does this authorization authorize offensive action?''

He said: ``No.''

There was a five-paragraph letter since--with the authorization request--talking about the need to use Special Forces. We can't get a straight answer from this administration as to whether or not he is referring to ours.

Yes, we have a duty to set our troops up to succeed, and not fail. We had a Marine general in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee. When asked whether or not the general in charge of our troops overseas in Iraq has the ability to authorize the mission to take out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or capture actionable intelligence, he read a paragraph that simply said that that general can make a recommendation.

What is further insulting is just how many people don't even know the name of that two-star general. Not only does he not have the flexibility and resources he needs to accomplish the mission from the administration that is in charge right now, led by the Commander in Chief, my constituents--Americans--don't even know that gentleman's name.

Yes, there has been a lot of debate. We have a need to protect our troops. That is why I oppose this resolution.

2:15 PM EDT

Lee M. Zeldin, R-NY 1st

Mr. ZELDIN. Mr. Speaker, only in Congress do you have a resolution presented to deauthorize the use of force because you want to authorize the use of force.

It is, quite frankly, pretty insulting that you would present a proposal to this body to withdraw troops and then accuse the other side of having moral cowardice for opposing the resolution.

There needs to be more mention of the President's strategy to defeat ISIS--or lack thereof. We have a duty here in Congress to set our troops up to succeed, not to fail.

There has been a lot of debate with regard to the Authorization for Use of Military Force. I am proud to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Chairman Royce has had multiple hearings discussing the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Secretary Kerry was before the committee. He was asked: ``Does this authorization authorize offensive action?''

He said: ``No.''

There was a five-paragraph letter since--with the authorization request--talking about the need to use Special Forces. We can't get a straight answer from this administration as to whether or not he is referring to ours.

Yes, we have a duty to set our troops up to succeed, and not fail. We had a Marine general in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee. When asked whether or not the general in charge of our troops overseas in Iraq has the ability to authorize the mission to take out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or capture actionable intelligence, he read a paragraph that simply said that that general can make a recommendation.

What is further insulting is just how many people don't even know the name of that two-star general. Not only does he not have the flexibility and resources he needs to accomplish the mission from the administration that is in charge right now, led by the Commander in Chief, my constituents--Americans--don't even know that gentleman's name.

Yes, there has been a lot of debate. We have a need to protect our troops. That is why I oppose this resolution.

2:17 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me just reiterate that I agree that Congress should do its job and pass a new AUMF. The question is: Is this the best way to do it? We ought to pass the right AUMF, not just any AUMF, and we are told we should force the issue.

I had a friend who used to say: ``Be careful what you wish for.'' If we pass this resolution, it is more than possible the Republican leadership will force through language that we on this side of the aisle cannot accept, something that does not have the limits the Democrats are seeking, or worse, just ratify the administration's argument that the 2001 AUMF applies to ISIL.

We need to pass an AUMF, I agree, but we need to pass the right AUMF, even if that means we can't do it within 6 months. I hope we can get together and do that--and we should--and that is why I think this debate is good; but I think passing any AUMF is like buying a pig in a poke, and I am not ready to go down that line.

I reserve the balance of my time.

2:17 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let me just reiterate that I agree that Congress should do its job and pass a new AUMF. The question is: Is this the best way to do it? We ought to pass the right AUMF, not just any AUMF, and we are told we should force the issue.

I had a friend who used to say: ``Be careful what you wish for.'' If we pass this resolution, it is more than possible the Republican leadership will force through language that we on this side of the aisle cannot accept, something that does not have the limits the Democrats are seeking, or worse, just ratify the administration's argument that the 2001 AUMF applies to ISIL.

We need to pass an AUMF, I agree, but we need to pass the right AUMF, even if that means we can't do it within 6 months. I hope we can get together and do that--and we should--and that is why I think this debate is good; but I think passing any AUMF is like buying a pig in a poke, and I am not ready to go down that line.

I reserve the balance of my time.

2:18 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, we should have passed an AUMF before we got into this latest war. We have been at it for 10 months. We are asking Congress to do its job in the next 6 months. How much longer do we want?

I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Massie).

2:18 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, we should have passed an AUMF before we got into this latest war. We have been at it for 10 months. We are asking Congress to do its job in the next 6 months. How much longer do we want?

I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Massie).

2:19 PM EDT

Thomas Massie, R-KY 4th

Mr. MASSIE. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for yielding.

I think some words from James Madison are instructive to this debate. He said:

In no part of the Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war and peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture of heterogeneous powers, the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man ..... War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive which is to direct it. In war, the public treasures are to

be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.

Hence, it has grown into an axiom that the executive is the department of power most distinguished by its propensity to war; hence, it is the practice of all States, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence.

That was a warning that he gave us. Unfortunately, after being in this conflict for several years without an authorization from Congress, we have devolved into the dystopian condition that he warned us about.

I don't think anybody in this body seeks to weaken our powers or give them to the President. What we are debating here is when to have the Authorization for Use of Military Force or a declaration of war. The time to have that was 2 years ago. It was years ago, before the President acted.

To the people who are against this resolution, I say you could be right. You might be right. If this resolution fails, I hope you are right, that this resolution wasn't necessary, and we do assert our constitutional prerogative, our responsibility, and have that debate and therefore instruct the President on the reasons for this engagement and what his directives are.

I just want to remind my colleagues this is a strategy, this is a parliamentary tactic that is necessary to force the debate, and let's have the debate.

2:19 PM EDT

Thomas Massie, R-KY 4th

Mr. MASSIE. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for yielding.

I think some words from James Madison are instructive to this debate. He said:

In no part of the Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war and peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department. Beside the objection to such a mixture of heterogeneous powers, the trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man ..... War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive which is to direct it. In war, the public treasures are to

be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.

Hence, it has grown into an axiom that the executive is the department of power most distinguished by its propensity to war; hence, it is the practice of all States, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence.

That was a warning that he gave us. Unfortunately, after being in this conflict for several years without an authorization from Congress, we have devolved into the dystopian condition that he warned us about.

I don't think anybody in this body seeks to weaken our powers or give them to the President. What we are debating here is when to have the Authorization for Use of Military Force or a declaration of war. The time to have that was 2 years ago. It was years ago, before the President acted.

To the people who are against this resolution, I say you could be right. You might be right. If this resolution fails, I hope you are right, that this resolution wasn't necessary, and we do assert our constitutional prerogative, our responsibility, and have that debate and therefore instruct the President on the reasons for this engagement and what his directives are.

I just want to remind my colleagues this is a strategy, this is a parliamentary tactic that is necessary to force the debate, and let's have the debate.

2:21 PM EDT

Ted Poe, R-TX 2nd

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I, like the author of this resolution, am concerned about our troops that have been in Iraq and Afghanistan for a long time.

In my office, I have photographs of the 37 Texans with connections to my district who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, of all races, both sexes, and all branches of the service. Here we are, years later, and we are still there.

I am also concerned about this group ISIS. The question is: Is ISIS a national security threat to the United States? I believe that it is. They are doing things to other people that we haven't seen in world history since the barbarians, and they are doing things much worse than even the barbarians did.

ISIS wants to establish a caliphate in the Middle East. It wants to kill us in the United States. They have made that clear.

If ISIS is a national security threat to the U.S., which I believe it is, then let's have a plan to defeat them, a plan now. Why are we waiting years to make this decision? Have the debate on the House floor: Are they a national security threat? If yes, go after them; if [Page: H4462]

not, then do something else. Meanwhile, people of all nations are dying.

I believe that ISIS will continue as long as there is not someone to stop them. It is in our national security interest to defeat them. The United States needs to have a plan. People of all nations are dying. We need to make a decision.

We need to make a decision as soon as possible, and we need to pick a horse and ride it, and we need to do it now. This bill is not the answer to doing that. Passing this legislation weakens us and weakens our national security. I oppose it.

And that is just the way it is.

2:21 PM EDT

Ted Poe, R-TX 2nd

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I, like the author of this resolution, am concerned about our troops that have been in Iraq and Afghanistan for a long time.

In my office, I have photographs of the 37 Texans with connections to my district who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, of all races, both sexes, and all branches of the service. Here we are, years later, and we are still there.

I am also concerned about this group ISIS. The question is: Is ISIS a national security threat to the United States? I believe that it is. They are doing things to other people that we haven't seen in world history since the barbarians, and they are doing things much worse than even the barbarians did.

ISIS wants to establish a caliphate in the Middle East. It wants to kill us in the United States. They have made that clear.

If ISIS is a national security threat to the U.S., which I believe it is, then let's have a plan to defeat them, a plan now. Why are we waiting years to make this decision? Have the debate on the House floor: Are they a national security threat? If yes, go after them; if [Page: H4462]

not, then do something else. Meanwhile, people of all nations are dying.

I believe that ISIS will continue as long as there is not someone to stop them. It is in our national security interest to defeat them. The United States needs to have a plan. People of all nations are dying. We need to make a decision.

We need to make a decision as soon as possible, and we need to pick a horse and ride it, and we need to do it now. This bill is not the answer to doing that. Passing this legislation weakens us and weakens our national security. I oppose it.

And that is just the way it is.

2:24 PM EDT

Lois J. Frankel, D-FL 22nd

Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, this debate is personal to me. I watched my son Ben, then a proud United States marine, being sent off to two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq. My family was blessed; he returned safely.

Both sides of the aisle know the price of the battle: too many killed, too many deeply scarred, too many lives of loved ones disrupted, trillions of dollars spent, and the reputation of our country at stake--sometimes for good reasons and sometimes in tragic error.

I will agree with those who say that, when terror strikes in the world, it is our concern and it does require our leadership. There are times when we must risk brave lives to save many more. With that said, when I came to Washington, I vowed not to send anyone else's son or daughter in harm's way unless I understood the mission and the end game, too.

We owe this to all our children. That is why I urge my colleagues to take the time to deliberate and debate on the use of force against the terrorists who threaten the security of our country and our allies. Congress has no greater responsibility.

2:24 PM EDT

Lois J. Frankel, D-FL 22nd

Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, this debate is personal to me. I watched my son Ben, then a proud United States marine, being sent off to two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq. My family was blessed; he returned safely.

Both sides of the aisle know the price of the battle: too many killed, too many deeply scarred, too many lives of loved ones disrupted, trillions of dollars spent, and the reputation of our country at stake--sometimes for good reasons and sometimes in tragic error.

I will agree with those who say that, when terror strikes in the world, it is our concern and it does require our leadership. There are times when we must risk brave lives to save many more. With that said, when I came to Washington, I vowed not to send anyone else's son or daughter in harm's way unless I understood the mission and the end game, too.

We owe this to all our children. That is why I urge my colleagues to take the time to deliberate and debate on the use of force against the terrorists who threaten the security of our country and our allies. Congress has no greater responsibility.

2:25 PM EDT

John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd

Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution is clear: Congress, and Congress alone, shall have the power to declare war.

Make no mistake, the current campaign against ISIS is a war.

Mr. Speaker, our esteemed colleague from Texas made a very cogent argument about why we need clarity. The inability to have a clear plan is based upon the fact that Congress has not yet articulated an authorization to use force that would lay out the parameters and the extent of what we would expect the President to do.

The President says he has the authorization under the 2001 and 2002 authorizations. Ambiguity, clearly, is present. I disagree with the President on those as an authorization. I have argued for more than 10 months that our military operations against ISIS need their own authorization.

The President did his part. He submitted a draft to us in February. Since then, we have had a few committee hearings, but no real action. Leadership in both Houses has refused to schedule votes on this issue, either in committee or on the floor. That is unacceptable.

We have already run up significant costs, $2.7 billion on operations to continue the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We have begun delivering $1.7 billion of weapons. More importantly, we have lost 7 servicemembers already.

This has to change. This resolution is to force us, the Congress, to uphold our constitutional duty to debate and vote on the authorization for the use of force in Iraq and Syria. I have no doubt that if this resolution passes, an appropriate authorization to use force will be passed, and we will have clarity as to the scope and conduct of this war.

I thank my colleagues for introducing this legislation.

2:25 PM EDT

John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd

Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution is clear: Congress, and Congress alone, shall have the power to declare war.

Make no mistake, the current campaign against ISIS is a war.

Mr. Speaker, our esteemed colleague from Texas made a very cogent argument about why we need clarity. The inability to have a clear plan is based upon the fact that Congress has not yet articulated an authorization to use force that would lay out the parameters and the extent of what we would expect the President to do.

The President says he has the authorization under the 2001 and 2002 authorizations. Ambiguity, clearly, is present. I disagree with the President on those as an authorization. I have argued for more than 10 months that our military operations against ISIS need their own authorization.

The President did his part. He submitted a draft to us in February. Since then, we have had a few committee hearings, but no real action. Leadership in both Houses has refused to schedule votes on this issue, either in committee or on the floor. That is unacceptable.

We have already run up significant costs, $2.7 billion on operations to continue the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We have begun delivering $1.7 billion of weapons. More importantly, we have lost 7 servicemembers already.

This has to change. This resolution is to force us, the Congress, to uphold our constitutional duty to debate and vote on the authorization for the use of force in Iraq and Syria. I have no doubt that if this resolution passes, an appropriate authorization to use force will be passed, and we will have clarity as to the scope and conduct of this war.

I thank my colleagues for introducing this legislation.

2:25 PM EDT

John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd

Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution is clear: Congress, and Congress alone, shall have the power to declare war.

Make no mistake, the current campaign against ISIS is a war.

Mr. Speaker, our esteemed colleague from Texas made a very cogent argument about why we need clarity. The inability to have a clear plan is based upon the fact that Congress has not yet articulated an authorization to use force that would lay out the parameters and the extent of what we would expect the President to do.

The President says he has the authorization under the 2001 and 2002 authorizations. Ambiguity, clearly, is present. I disagree with the President on those as an authorization. I have argued for more than 10 months that our military operations against ISIS need their own authorization.

The President did his part. He submitted a draft to us in February. Since then, we have had a few committee hearings, but no real action. Leadership in both Houses has refused to schedule votes on this issue, either in committee or on the floor. That is unacceptable.

We have already run up significant costs, $2.7 billion on operations to continue the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We have begun delivering $1.7 billion of weapons. More importantly, we have lost 7 servicemembers already.

This has to change. This resolution is to force us, the Congress, to uphold our constitutional duty to debate and vote on the authorization for the use of force in Iraq and Syria. I have no doubt that if this resolution passes, an appropriate authorization to use force will be passed, and we will have clarity as to the scope and conduct of this war.

I thank my colleagues for introducing this legislation.

2:28 PM EDT

George Holding, R-NC 13th

Mr. HOLDING. I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose the resolution in front of us today.

If passed, the pressure we the United States have been able to apply against ISIS would be stopped, and our allies in the region would be left out in the cold.

There is no doubt about the true wickedness of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Their twisted views and thirst for blood have spread instability in the Middle East, leaving a wake of destruction.

The United States, along with our partners, has struggled to beat back ISIS' advances, and the adoption of this resolution would effectively end our operations against ISIS, thus creating a direct threat to our national security and our interests.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution is misguided and unwise, and I urge my colleagues to oppose it.

2:28 PM EDT

George Holding, R-NC 13th

Mr. HOLDING. I thank the chairman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose the resolution in front of us today.

If passed, the pressure we the United States have been able to apply against ISIS would be stopped, and our allies in the region would be left out in the cold.

There is no doubt about the true wickedness of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Their twisted views and thirst for blood have spread instability in the Middle East, leaving a wake of destruction.

The United States, along with our partners, has struggled to beat back ISIS' advances, and the adoption of this resolution would effectively end our operations against ISIS, thus creating a direct threat to our national security and our interests.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution is misguided and unwise, and I urge my colleagues to oppose it.

2:29 PM EDT

David N. Cicilline, D-RI 1st

Mr. CICILLINE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the resolution brought to the floor by my colleague, Mr. McGovern.

No one disputes the horrific nature of the activities being described today and the sickening violence in this region of the world. No one disputes they must be defeated. The question is: What is the best strategy to defeat them and what authorization is required to accomplish this objective?

This is exactly the purpose of a full, thoughtful debate on the use of military force.

[Time: 14:30]

My constituents expect Congress to do its job, and we have failed for 4 months to act on the President's draft for the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

There is no more serious duty that we have than the declaration of war, and I thank my friend from Massachusetts for taking an action intended to force the House to perform its constitutional responsibility and debate the use of military force in Iraq and Syria. This resolution is our only vehicle to force the House to do what it has failed to do.

Over the past 14 years, the United States has lost more than 6,000 heroes who served our Nation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Speaker, I am deeply concerned about the possibility that we could continue to commit more brave American men and women in uniform to a conflict without carefully considering, seriously debating, and properly authorizing that use of military force.

Allowing this military action to continue without a real public debate is failing our most solemn responsibility as Members of Congress. This is the only way that we will ultimately develop and implement a successful strategy--a rigorous debate in full public view.

We absolutely must ensure that any additional involvement in any way has clearly defined goals and objectives, is properly limited in scope, and is fully explained to and supported by the American people. That is what Mr. McGovern's resolution attempts to do, to force this House over the next several months to undertake its constitutional responsibility to debate, to carefully consider, and to ultimately authorize the use of military force. We should not shirk this responsibility.

I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for giving us the opportunity to make our voices heard. I thank the gentleman from New York.

2:29 PM EDT

David N. Cicilline, D-RI 1st

Mr. CICILLINE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the resolution brought to the floor by my colleague, Mr. McGovern.

No one disputes the horrific nature of the activities being described today and the sickening violence in this region of the world. No one disputes they must be defeated. The question is: What is the best strategy to defeat them and what authorization is required to accomplish this objective?

This is exactly the purpose of a full, thoughtful debate on the use of military force.

[Time: 14:30]

My constituents expect Congress to do its job, and we have failed for 4 months to act on the President's draft for the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

There is no more serious duty that we have than the declaration of war, and I thank my friend from Massachusetts for taking an action intended to force the House to perform its constitutional responsibility and debate the use of military force in Iraq and Syria. This resolution is our only vehicle to force the House to do what it has failed to do.

Over the past 14 years, the United States has lost more than 6,000 heroes who served our Nation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Speaker, I am deeply concerned about the possibility that we could continue to commit more brave American men and women in uniform to a conflict without carefully considering, seriously debating, and properly authorizing that use of military force.

Allowing this military action to continue without a real public debate is failing our most solemn responsibility as Members of Congress. This is the only way that we will ultimately develop and implement a successful strategy--a rigorous debate in full public view.

We absolutely must ensure that any additional involvement in any way has clearly defined goals and objectives, is properly limited in scope, and is fully explained to and supported by the American people. That is what Mr. McGovern's resolution attempts to do, to force this House over the next several months to undertake its constitutional responsibility to debate, to carefully consider, and to ultimately authorize the use of military force. We should not shirk this responsibility.

I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for giving us the opportunity to make our voices heard. I thank the gentleman from New York.

2:32 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, this hour, this minute, this second is actually a gift to the American people. I thank the proponents of this resolution because it recognizes, first and above all, that this little document, the Constitution, albeit small, creates mountains of responsibility on behalf of the American people.

This moment, this minute, this second we are giving the American people their due and their respect, and that is to acknowledge that there must be a full debate on sending our treasure continuously to Iraq and Syria. There is no divide between us on the vileness of ISIS and all of the terrorist groups and the willingness of the American people to be empathetic, sympathetic, and helping the Iraqis and Syrians and those who are suffering and those who are bleeding.

But the question has to be, after 6,000 wounded, hundreds who have been killed particularly in my State, and thousands more across the Nation, we have to find the pathway where all of us know what we are doing. [Page: H4463]

This is an important resolution. We need the debate, and we need to understand that our soldiers need to be protected and ultimately brought home.

2:32 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, this hour, this minute, this second is actually a gift to the American people. I thank the proponents of this resolution because it recognizes, first and above all, that this little document, the Constitution, albeit small, creates mountains of responsibility on behalf of the American people.

This moment, this minute, this second we are giving the American people their due and their respect, and that is to acknowledge that there must be a full debate on sending our treasure continuously to Iraq and Syria. There is no divide between us on the vileness of ISIS and all of the terrorist groups and the willingness of the American people to be empathetic, sympathetic, and helping the Iraqis and Syrians and those who are suffering and those who are bleeding.

But the question has to be, after 6,000 wounded, hundreds who have been killed particularly in my State, and thousands more across the Nation, we have to find the pathway where all of us know what we are doing. [Page: H4463]

This is an important resolution. We need the debate, and we need to understand that our soldiers need to be protected and ultimately brought home.

2:33 PM EDT

Adam Kinzinger, R-IL 16th

Mr. KINZINGER of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for his leadership on this issue for, unfortunately, the long time that we have been having to deal with this.

I am surprised. We watch the news. We see what is happening overseas and from afar, and we see the human tragedy occurring; yet we are here debating an isolationism resolution to withdraw all military actions from the Middle East at a time when we see utter human tragedies. This is not the time, in fact, to halt military operations.

I would like to speak out quickly on an issue that I think underlines this whole debate. There are some that believe that if our foreign policy were simply nicer, if our foreign policy were more accommodating or less focused on military power, then the world and, more importantly, our enemies would suddenly view America in a much different light, or that the problems that we are facing today, we wouldn't be facing them at all. This is a view of pacificism or disengagement in the world, [Page:

H4464]

and it represents at best a naive world view, and I think it is certainly an illusion.

Ironically, as we debate the merits of this resolution, we have a case study in the illusion of pacifism or disengagement. The President laid down a red line against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and, in fact, the Russians supposedly gave the President an off-ramp in which he was able to exit and allow Bashar al-Assad to simply give up his chemical weapons.

When we saw that nicer new engagement by the United States, we did not see a peaceful Bashar al-Assad emerge realizing that he had simply misunderstood the United States. We saw the same brutal dictator that murdered his own people continued to be brutal and murderous.

Before we withdrew troops completely from Iraq, many implored the President to leave a residual force. We didn't do it, and we have now the next iteration of al Qaeda, named ISIS. Now, that may be a bit of an oversimplification, but it is, in essence, what we see.

I think it is fine to have a debate about AUMF in this Chamber, and we should. What the President gave us was an AUMF that not only limited his ability to fight ISIS, but limited the ability of the next President of the United States to fight and destroy ISIS. I personally won't be a party to tying the President's hands.

Mr. Speaker, I was in Iraq just a few months ago, and I saw the human tragedy that occurred. I stood in the U.N. refugee camp and had a little girl come up to me and explain through a translator how her parents were killed by ISIS and how she ran away fleeing for security, and I realized the important role that the United States of America plays, the unfortunate burden that we must bear for world security.

Mr. Speaker, we either stand up and fight ISIS now, or we sit on our knees and cower before them later.

2:37 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable that we have not debated in committee and on the floor of this House an AUMF and a foreign policy designed to fit current circumstances, designed to fit an Assad regime that has killed nearly 200,000 of his own people, designed to fit ISIS, which either is or isn't a part or a former part of al Qaeda. Instead, we operate under a resolution passed in the wake of the attacks in 2001.

The resolution before us I do not think is the answer to the fact that Congress has not debated a new AUMF.

The reason I rise to oppose it is because I urge Members to read it. It says that all forces must be withdrawn in 30 days unless there is some threat to their security. It says that it ends all deployment, but it is not clear how it applies to Air Force operations or Naval air operations. Presumably, we would stop all bombing under all circumstances.

How does it apply to the rights of the President under current law to deploy our forces for 60 to 90 days if there would be some further outrage from the Assad regime?

We need a new resolution that does Congress' best job to deal with the current circumstances. What we don't need is the idea that blaming Obama for everything constitutes a foreign policy strategy.

The fact is that it was the Bush administration that installed and left al-Maliki in power. It is al-Maliki that expelled all our forces and would not allow a residual force. Would we have gone to war with the Iraqi Army under al-Maliki if he expelled our forces? I have yet to hear that suggested by the blame Obama side.

The fact is that we cannot leave our forces in a country that will not sign a status of forces agreement with us.

The great problem with Iraq today is what al-Maliki did to that country, and the person who installed al-Maliki was the former President of the United States, President George W. Bush.

So I look forward, first, to the defeat of this resolution but, second, to consideration of a new AUMF that focuses on whether we will do anything about Assad or only go after ISIS, whether we will use ground forces, which I oppose, or just use our Air Forces. That debate needs to start in our committee, but this resolution is not an answer.

2:37 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable that we have not debated in committee and on the floor of this House an AUMF and a foreign policy designed to fit current circumstances, designed to fit an Assad regime that has killed nearly 200,000 of his own people, designed to fit ISIS, which either is or isn't a part or a former part of al Qaeda. Instead, we operate under a resolution passed in the wake of the attacks in 2001.

The resolution before us I do not think is the answer to the fact that Congress has not debated a new AUMF.

The reason I rise to oppose it is because I urge Members to read it. It says that all forces must be withdrawn in 30 days unless there is some threat to their security. It says that it ends all deployment, but it is not clear how it applies to Air Force operations or Naval air operations. Presumably, we would stop all bombing under all circumstances.

How does it apply to the rights of the President under current law to deploy our forces for 60 to 90 days if there would be some further outrage from the Assad regime?

We need a new resolution that does Congress' best job to deal with the current circumstances. What we don't need is the idea that blaming Obama for everything constitutes a foreign policy strategy.

The fact is that it was the Bush administration that installed and left al-Maliki in power. It is al-Maliki that expelled all our forces and would not allow a residual force. Would we have gone to war with the Iraqi Army under al-Maliki if he expelled our forces? I have yet to hear that suggested by the blame Obama side.

The fact is that we cannot leave our forces in a country that will not sign a status of forces agreement with us.

The great problem with Iraq today is what al-Maliki did to that country, and the person who installed al-Maliki was the former President of the United States, President George W. Bush.

So I look forward, first, to the defeat of this resolution but, second, to consideration of a new AUMF that focuses on whether we will do anything about Assad or only go after ISIS, whether we will use ground forces, which I oppose, or just use our Air Forces. That debate needs to start in our committee, but this resolution is not an answer.

2:40 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I don't appreciate this resolution being mischaracterized. The troops don't have to be withdrawn for 6 months, and the point of this resolution is to force this House to do its job and pass an AUMF. If my colleagues are so upset that we haven't debated and voted on an AUMF, they ought to support this resolution because it is the only way we are going to force the leadership in this House to do its job.

With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. O'Rourke).

2:41 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:42 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:43 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:43 PM EDT

Jackie Walorski, R-IN 2nd

Mrs. WALORSKI. Mr. Speaker, I just came from an Armed Services Committee meeting where the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs both agreed that under no circumstances should this House consider this resolution at this time, which is conceivably an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Syria. This causes, they discussed, an immediate risk to our homeland and our allies.

We would not be here today debating this issue if the Commander in Chief had articulated a strategy to the American people. We would not be debating this concept.

Even so, Mr. Chairman, this is dangerous for America, and this is not the way to go on a plan for an immediate withdrawal with our allies and with our homeland being at risk.

The world is watching today. The world has watched for the last several years our lack of a foreign policy plan, but today the world is watching to see if this U.S. House is going to stand together in a bipartisan manner and reject this resolution and stand together for the safety that we were sworn to stand together and uphold, which is the safety of the United States of America.

I ask my colleagues to reject this resolution.

2:44 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:44 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:44 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:44 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 30th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I don't want to characterize the resolution. I want to read it.

It requires the President of the United States to remove all of our forces, except those needed to protect our diplomatic facilities--and here are the words--``by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.'' [Page: H4465]

Now, that certainly applies to all our naval forces and all our air forces. But then it goes on to say, if the President determines that it is not safe to remove forces, he can have an additional period up to the end of the year. That assumes that our ground forces cannot be withdrawn within a 30-day period.

Our forces are mobile. They are capable. They are currently behind the front lines. And they can, indeed, leave within 30 days. So clause 2 is applicable only to a military that is engaged in combat or is immobile. Our military is neither.

Clause 1: ``30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted.''

2:45 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I urge my colleagues to read the resolution because basically what it does, it gives the President up through the end of the year, if he so chooses. I mean, that is what the resolution says. And I would hope that in 6 months we could come together and pass an AUMF. I would hope that all my colleagues--who are complaining here that we don't have an AUMF--would actually come together in the next 6 months to do something because it hasn't happened in the first 10 months. We can point fingers all

we want, but it is not getting done.

And this is a way to force this Congress to do its job. It is that simple.

This is not about walking away from the conflict in the Middle East. This is about making sure that the men and women who serve in the United States Congress live up to our constitutional responsibilities and do our job.

I am sorry that so many people think that is a radical idea, but we haven't done our job. And I think it is a disservice to the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces, and it is a disservice to our duty as Members of Congress.

With that, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Nolan).

2:47 PM EDT

Rick Nolan, D-MN 8th

Mr. NOLAN. Mr. Speaker, Members of the House, one of the great failures of this Congress in our time has been the abdication of our responsibility, which could not be more clearly defined by our Founders, for declarations of war and, subsequently, resolutions authorizing the use of force.

Clearly, the time is long overdue for this Congress to step up and assume its responsibility for these declarations, these seemingly endless wars of choice that are so costly in blood and in treasure. It is time that this Congress step up and have that debate on whether or not it is in our interest to continue our involvement in these wars. We need to be presented with a rationale. We need to be presented with a strategy. Or, in fact, it is time to put an end to them and to bring our troops home.

Mr. Speaker, my fellow colleagues, we owe it to our taxpayers, who have spent trillions of dollars in these ventures. We owe it to our Founders, who knew and understood the importance of having the Congress make these decisions--not executives. And we owe it to our troops.

It is time to have that resolution debated and decided here, or it is time to bring the troops home, Mr. Speaker.

As Judge Poe would say, ``And that is just the way it is.''

2:47 PM EDT

Rick Nolan, D-MN 8th

Mr. NOLAN. Mr. Speaker, Members of the House, one of the great failures of this Congress in our time has been the abdication of our responsibility, which could not be more clearly defined by our Founders, for declarations of war and, subsequently, resolutions authorizing the use of force.

Clearly, the time is long overdue for this Congress to step up and assume its responsibility for these declarations, these seemingly endless wars of choice that are so costly in blood and in treasure. It is time that this Congress step up and have that debate on whether or not it is in our interest to continue our involvement in these wars. We need to be presented with a rationale. We need to be presented with a strategy. Or, in fact, it is time to put an end to them and to bring our troops home.

Mr. Speaker, my fellow colleagues, we owe it to our taxpayers, who have spent trillions of dollars in these ventures. We owe it to our Founders, who knew and understood the importance of having the Congress make these decisions--not executives. And we owe it to our troops.

It is time to have that resolution debated and decided here, or it is time to bring the troops home, Mr. Speaker.

As Judge Poe would say, ``And that is just the way it is.''

2:49 PM EDT

Barbara Lee, D-CA 13th

Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, let me first thank Congressman McGovern for yielding and for his tireless effort and leadership. Also, I am proud to join with Congressman Walter Jones and, again, Mr. McGovern on this bipartisan resolution.

This resolution calls only for the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq and Syria by the end of the year absent, mind you--absent--the passage of an Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIS.

However, this resolution is also about reclaiming a fundamental constitutional responsibility: the constitutionally protected right of Congress to debate and determine whether and when this country enters into war.

For the last 10 months, our Nation has been fighting yet another war in the Middle East, a war that Congress has yet to authorize or even to debate. We have been patient, and we have given the House leadership plenty of time to develop a strategy to bring up an authorization.

When this war began, Congressman McGovern and I wrote to the Speaker, calling for an immediate debate and vote. Nothing happened. Then at the beginning of this Congress, the Speaker said that the President had to send to Congress an authorization. More than 4 months ago, the President did just that. Once again, nothing happened.

In the 10 months since the war began, we have had no real debate and certainly no vote. This is outrageous.

Now, let me be clear about what we are trying to do with this resolution. This is not about making a political point. This is about forcing Congress to take up an Authorization for Use of Military Force by the end of the year and to follow through on its constitutional responsibility. It is about making us do our job. It is unfortunate that we have to do that.

The timeline included in this bill gives the leadership of the House 6 months to bring forward an AUMF, but the clock is ticking.

Just last week, the President announced he authorized the deployment of 450 more American troops to train and assist Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS.

Mr. Speaker, this is textbook mission creep.

Mr. Speaker, we are here to say, enough is enough. After more than a decade of wars in the Middle East, thousands of U.S. lives and billions of dollars lost, the need for Congress to reclaim its war-making powers is more critical than ever.

Members of Congress are sent to Washington, D.C., to make hard decisions, but in the case of war, Congress, instead, has chosen to duck its responsibilities.

And let me just say, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force--which is a blank check for endless war--has been cited as the authorization for the ongoing war against ISIS. That is why, of course, I voted against it 14 years ago and have introduced legislation every Congress to repeal this blank check for endless war.

Keeping this authorization on the books indefinitely without repealing or replacing it has allowed Congress to avoid its constitutional responsibility to bring up an authorization against ISIS.

From what I remember, we only had 1 hour of debate in 2001. At least, Mr. Speaker, we have 2 hours now to debate whether or not to debate an Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress must have a role in how we do our work and what we are required to do, and that is exactly what this resolution is about. Many of us agree that a robust debate and a vote is necessary, long overdue, and must take place.

During the full committee markup last week of the Defense Appropriations bill, I offered a sense of Congress amendment that simply reaffirmed that Congress has a constitutional duty to debate and determine whether or not to authorize the use of military force against ISIS. This amendment was adopted with the support of six Republicans on the committee.

While we may all not agree on what an AUMF should look like, we know there is bipartisan agreement around the need for Congress to debate on a specific AUMF.

We need to do our job. We know full well there is no military solution in Iraq or Syria, for that matter, and that any lasting solution must be settled in the region among warring factions.

The American people deserve to know the costs and the consequences of this new war, and Members of Congress should represent their constituents by saying ``yes'' or ``no.''

This resolution is a procedural mechanism. It is unfortunate, again, that we have to do this to make us live up to our constitutional job and duty in the matters of war and peace.

We need to vote ``yes'' on this resolution. It is simple. It is bipartisan. It just requires us to do our job and to exercise our constitutional responsibilities. Enough is enough. We cannot allow the American people to have no voice in what is said and what is being done with their taxpayer dollars.

2:49 PM EDT

Barbara Lee, D-CA 13th

Ms. LEE. Mr. Speaker, let me first thank Congressman McGovern for yielding and for his tireless effort and leadership. Also, I am proud to join with Congressman Walter Jones and, again, Mr. McGovern on this bipartisan resolution.

This resolution calls only for the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq and Syria by the end of the year absent, mind you--absent--the passage of an Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIS.

However, this resolution is also about reclaiming a fundamental constitutional responsibility: the constitutionally protected right of Congress to debate and determine whether and when this country enters into war.

For the last 10 months, our Nation has been fighting yet another war in the Middle East, a war that Congress has yet to authorize or even to debate. We have been patient, and we have given the House leadership plenty of time to develop a strategy to bring up an authorization.

When this war began, Congressman McGovern and I wrote to the Speaker, calling for an immediate debate and vote. Nothing happened. Then at the beginning of this Congress, the Speaker said that the President had to send to Congress an authorization. More than 4 months ago, the President did just that. Once again, nothing happened.

In the 10 months since the war began, we have had no real debate and certainly no vote. This is outrageous.

Now, let me be clear about what we are trying to do with this resolution. This is not about making a political point. This is about forcing Congress to take up an Authorization for Use of Military Force by the end of the year and to follow through on its constitutional responsibility. It is about making us do our job. It is unfortunate that we have to do that.

The timeline included in this bill gives the leadership of the House 6 months to bring forward an AUMF, but the clock is ticking.

Just last week, the President announced he authorized the deployment of 450 more American troops to train and assist Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS.

Mr. Speaker, this is textbook mission creep.

Mr. Speaker, we are here to say, enough is enough. After more than a decade of wars in the Middle East, thousands of U.S. lives and billions of dollars lost, the need for Congress to reclaim its war-making powers is more critical than ever.

Members of Congress are sent to Washington, D.C., to make hard decisions, but in the case of war, Congress, instead, has chosen to duck its responsibilities.

And let me just say, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force--which is a blank check for endless war--has been cited as the authorization for the ongoing war against ISIS. That is why, of course, I voted against it 14 years ago and have introduced legislation every Congress to repeal this blank check for endless war.

Keeping this authorization on the books indefinitely without repealing or replacing it has allowed Congress to avoid its constitutional responsibility to bring up an authorization against ISIS.

From what I remember, we only had 1 hour of debate in 2001. At least, Mr. Speaker, we have 2 hours now to debate whether or not to debate an Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress must have a role in how we do our work and what we are required to do, and that is exactly what this resolution is about. Many of us agree that a robust debate and a vote is necessary, long overdue, and must take place.

During the full committee markup last week of the Defense Appropriations bill, I offered a sense of Congress amendment that simply reaffirmed that Congress has a constitutional duty to debate and determine whether or not to authorize the use of military force against ISIS. This amendment was adopted with the support of six Republicans on the committee.

While we may all not agree on what an AUMF should look like, we know there is bipartisan agreement around the need for Congress to debate on a specific AUMF.

We need to do our job. We know full well there is no military solution in Iraq or Syria, for that matter, and that any lasting solution must be settled in the region among warring factions.

The American people deserve to know the costs and the consequences of this new war, and Members of Congress should represent their constituents by saying ``yes'' or ``no.''

This resolution is a procedural mechanism. It is unfortunate, again, that we have to do this to make us live up to our constitutional job and duty in the matters of war and peace.

We need to vote ``yes'' on this resolution. It is simple. It is bipartisan. It just requires us to do our job and to exercise our constitutional responsibilities. Enough is enough. We cannot allow the American people to have no voice in what is said and what is being done with their taxpayer dollars.

2:54 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

2:58 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

2:58 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

2:58 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 10th

Mr. NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution, and I commend the sponsors, Mr. McGovern and Ms. Lee, for introducing it. And I do so not because I necessarily think we ought to withdraw all our troops in 6 months. Maybe we should. I am not sure of that yet. But I do know that we are waging a war that is probably unconstitutional, as we did in Libya.

Since World War II, we have time after time gotten away from the constitutional command that Congress shall declare war. The Framers said war is too important to allow one person--the President--to decide on it. But we have gotten away from that. We got away from it because we didn't have time. That was the excuse. With the missiles flying over the poles, you couldn't call Congress into session.

But then came Iraq. We had a resolution for the use of military force. Then came Libya. No excuse. Plenty of time to consult with NATO. Plenty of time to consult with Arab countries. No time to consult with Congress. I believe that was an unconstitutional--and a foolish, as it turns out--but an unconstitutional use of force.

[Time: 15:00]

Mr. Speaker, now we have this force in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Syria. We are getting more and more into a war. I am not commenting on the intelligence of that right now. It may be that we have no choice but to fight ISIS. Maybe, as the Republicans seem to want without saying so, we should have a lot of boots on the ground, because that is what they are really saying when they say the President is doing it halfway. Or maybe the bigger threat is Iran, and we should turn our attentions to

Iran instead of tacitly allying with Iran against ISIS. Or maybe we should say it is up to the Middle Eastern people--they can handle it--and pull our troops out altogether. That is the debate we ought to have. And what are the limits of our commitment, if any? That ought to be debated in Congress. Congress ought to make these decisions in the name of the American people, not the President.

Now, because we haven't had an AUMF on the floor, we must have this resolution.

2:58 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 10th

Mr. NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution, and I commend the sponsors, Mr. McGovern and Ms. Lee, for introducing it. And I do so not because I necessarily think we ought to withdraw all our troops in 6 months. Maybe we should. I am not sure of that yet. But I do know that we are waging a war that is probably unconstitutional, as we did in Libya.

Since World War II, we have time after time gotten away from the constitutional command that Congress shall declare war. The Framers said war is too important to allow one person--the President--to decide on it. But we have gotten away from that. We got away from it because we didn't have time. That was the excuse. With the missiles flying over the poles, you couldn't call Congress into session.

But then came Iraq. We had a resolution for the use of military force. Then came Libya. No excuse. Plenty of time to consult with NATO. Plenty of time to consult with Arab countries. No time to consult with Congress. I believe that was an unconstitutional--and a foolish, as it turns out--but an unconstitutional use of force.

[Time: 15:00]

Mr. Speaker, now we have this force in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Syria. We are getting more and more into a war. I am not commenting on the intelligence of that right now. It may be that we have no choice but to fight ISIS. Maybe, as the Republicans seem to want without saying so, we should have a lot of boots on the ground, because that is what they are really saying when they say the President is doing it halfway. Or maybe the bigger threat is Iran, and we should turn our attentions to

Iran instead of tacitly allying with Iran against ISIS. Or maybe we should say it is up to the Middle Eastern people--they can handle it--and pull our troops out altogether. That is the debate we ought to have. And what are the limits of our commitment, if any? That ought to be debated in Congress. Congress ought to make these decisions in the name of the American people, not the President.

Now, because we haven't had an AUMF on the floor, we must have this resolution.

3:00 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:00 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:02 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:02 PM EDT

John Lewis, D-GA 5th

Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution.

First let me thank the gentleman from Massachusetts, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee), and the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) for their tireless leadership on this issue.

Thank you, Mr. McGovern.

For 14 long years, our Nation has been at war. Our people are sick and tired of war. This resolution simply opens the door to bring American soldiers home.

Let me be clear. We must maintain a strong national defense. We have a responsibility to protect our borders, our diplomats, and Americans at home and abroad. But the end to terrorism is not found through the barrel of a gun or more boots on the ground. More weapons cannot stomp out the root causes of terrorism, and more bombs cannot eradicate the seeds of hate.

Over and over again, I have stood on this very floor and reminded my colleagues that the use of force cannot--must not--be taken lightly, especially when the needs at home are so great and the sea of terrorism is so vast.

President John F. Kennedy once said, ``Those who make a peaceful revolution [Page: H4467]

impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.''

Many years ago, I shared my concerns with you that young people in the Middle East would never forget the violence that they have experienced in their youth. I feared then--and I say it again--that they would grow up hating our children, our grandchildren, and generations yet unborn. I feared those young people would have very little faith in the idea of democracy, in the values of inclusion, or the hope for lasting peace.

``Hate begets hate,'' as Martin Luther King, Jr., would say, ``violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.''

These young people must be our focus. We must lift them up and listen to regional voices for peace. We must counter the consequences of violence by demonstrating that diplomacy and the spread of true democracy are the most effective weapons against terrorism.

Yes, I will say it again. Our people are sick and tired of war. I hope that all of my colleagues will support this resolution and vote ``yes'' for a method to build a peace for long a time and for years and generations to come.

3:02 PM EDT

John Lewis, D-GA 5th

Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution.

First let me thank the gentleman from Massachusetts, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee), and the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) for their tireless leadership on this issue.

Thank you, Mr. McGovern.

For 14 long years, our Nation has been at war. Our people are sick and tired of war. This resolution simply opens the door to bring American soldiers home.

Let me be clear. We must maintain a strong national defense. We have a responsibility to protect our borders, our diplomats, and Americans at home and abroad. But the end to terrorism is not found through the barrel of a gun or more boots on the ground. More weapons cannot stomp out the root causes of terrorism, and more bombs cannot eradicate the seeds of hate.

Over and over again, I have stood on this very floor and reminded my colleagues that the use of force cannot--must not--be taken lightly, especially when the needs at home are so great and the sea of terrorism is so vast.

President John F. Kennedy once said, ``Those who make a peaceful revolution [Page: H4467]

impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.''

Many years ago, I shared my concerns with you that young people in the Middle East would never forget the violence that they have experienced in their youth. I feared then--and I say it again--that they would grow up hating our children, our grandchildren, and generations yet unborn. I feared those young people would have very little faith in the idea of democracy, in the values of inclusion, or the hope for lasting peace.

``Hate begets hate,'' as Martin Luther King, Jr., would say, ``violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.''

These young people must be our focus. We must lift them up and listen to regional voices for peace. We must counter the consequences of violence by demonstrating that diplomacy and the spread of true democracy are the most effective weapons against terrorism.

Yes, I will say it again. Our people are sick and tired of war. I hope that all of my colleagues will support this resolution and vote ``yes'' for a method to build a peace for long a time and for years and generations to come.

3:05 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:05 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:05 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:05 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from New York for yielding to me. I have something special to say.

Mr. Speaker, as the United States has increasingly drifted into war without the usual congressional authorization, I appreciate that today's resolution permits the House to assert its appropriate role. I only ask that the residents of the District of Columbia be permitted to be heard in the same way as other Americans. My colleagues will not only speak today, they also will vote the will of their constituents. Although District residents are already serving in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, I am

limited to speaking without a vote.

What an outrage, especially to our veterans. That outrage is amplified, considering that District residents pay $12,000 annually per capita in Federal taxes, more in Federal taxes than the residents of any State in the Union, to support our government in war and in peace. Regardless of what is decided on this resolution, Mr. Speaker, District residents will be there for America, as they have been for every war ever since the Nation was created. It is time that the Congress was there for District

residents.

Nearly 200,000 D.C. residents have fought for America's freedom in time of war, yet our residents, including our veterans, are still denied a vote in the national legislature that sent them to war. In fact, D.C. servicemembers fought and won the vote for citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet our veterans came home without the same voting rights for themselves. The Nation willingly accepts their sacrifices and demands their tax dollars but denies them representation in Congress.

D.C. residents have not only given their lives for this country since its creation as a nation, they have died in disproportionate numbers in all of the 21st century wars; yet these veterans, among the 650,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia, still have no vote on national security, no vote on defense spending, no vote in the decision to send our country to war, and no vote on anything else in this House.

3:06 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from New York for yielding to me. I have something special to say.

Mr. Speaker, as the United States has increasingly drifted into war without the usual congressional authorization, I appreciate that today's resolution permits the House to assert its appropriate role. I only ask that the residents of the District of Columbia be permitted to be heard in the same way as other Americans. My colleagues will not only speak today, they also will vote the will of their constituents. Although District residents are already serving in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, I am

limited to speaking without a vote.

What an outrage, especially to our veterans. That outrage is amplified, considering that District residents pay $12,000 annually per capita in Federal taxes, more in Federal taxes than the residents of any State in the Union, to support our government in war and in peace. Regardless of what is decided on this resolution, Mr. Speaker, District residents will be there for America, as they have been for every war ever since the Nation was created. It is time that the Congress was there for District

residents.

Nearly 200,000 D.C. residents have fought for America's freedom in time of war, yet our residents, including our veterans, are still denied a vote in the national legislature that sent them to war. In fact, D.C. servicemembers fought and won the vote for citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet our veterans came home without the same voting rights for themselves. The Nation willingly accepts their sacrifices and demands their tax dollars but denies them representation in Congress.

D.C. residents have not only given their lives for this country since its creation as a nation, they have died in disproportionate numbers in all of the 21st century wars; yet these veterans, among the 650,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia, still have no vote on national security, no vote on defense spending, no vote in the decision to send our country to war, and no vote on anything else in this House.

3:09 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. I protest, Mr. Speaker. I protest continuing to demand full citizenship costs from the residents of our Nation's Capital while denying them the vote granted to all other Americans that come with those costs.

I thank my friend for yielding.

3:09 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. I protest, Mr. Speaker. I protest continuing to demand full citizenship costs from the residents of our Nation's Capital while denying them the vote granted to all other Americans that come with those costs.

I thank my friend for yielding.

3:09 PM EDT

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC

Ms. NORTON. I protest, Mr. Speaker. I protest continuing to demand full citizenship costs from the residents of our Nation's Capital while denying them the vote granted to all other Americans that come with those costs.

I thank my friend for yielding.

3:09 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:09 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:10 PM EDT

Mark Sanford Jr., R-SC 1st

Mr. SANFORD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for offering this important proposal that he is joined with by colleagues from California, New York, North Carolina, and other places.

I am a Republican who stands proudly with this Democrat because I think he is hitting the nail on the head. I do so because, in this instance, it has been argued against as a blunt instrument. But what the Founding Fathers were incredibly deliberate about--very blunt about, if you will--was that only Congress had the ability to declare war. And so this one blunt instrument is ultimately about backing up the bluntness of the Constitution in absolutely being declarative in suggesting that only

Congress has the power to authorize war.

What the Founding Fathers knew was that, at the end of the day, body bags don't come back to Washington, D.C., when something goes wrong in some far-off battlefield; they come back to congressional districts across this country. So they wanted a check and a balance wherein people from those local districts could report into Congress and say that this is or this isn't working for folks back home.

Again, the Founding Fathers were so blunt. I look here at a document that is 250 days beyond the authorization of war that is even granted in the War Powers Act. I look at an administration and the Congress that is hinging, it is building and sustaining of war in the Middle East based on a 14-year-old document, in essence, a blank check, and there are no blank checks in this process.

I look at what James Madison said years ago. He said: ``The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war to the legislature.''

This proposal is about cost. It is about saying we have spent $2.5 trillion in the Middle East. The Harvard study says 6 trillion.

3:13 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I first would like to insert in the Record a letter of support from the Constitution Project, which is signed by our former colleague, Republican Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma; a letter in support of this resolution from the Council for a Liveable War; a letter of support from Win Without War; and a letter of support from the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

THE CONSTITUTION PROJECT,

Washington, DC, June 17, 2015.

Hon. Jim McGovern,

House of Representatives.

Hon. WALTER JONES,

House of Representatives.

Hon. Barbara Lee,

House of Representatives.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVES MCGOVERN, JONES AND LEE: We write to applaud you for your efforts to compel Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility to decide on war. For ten months President Obama has prosecuted the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) under a specious legal claim that Congress authorized it fourteen years ago. Congress has done no such thing. It is high time that Members weighed in.

We take no position on grave policy choices about whether to continue to use military force against ISIL, and if so how. But Congress must. The Framers vested the war power in the legislative branch precisely because they believed that young Americans should only be put in harm's way when the people, through their representatives' collective judgment, approved it.

We know this is the most difficult issue that Members face. It is also your most important responsibility. If Congress agrees that U.S. service men and woman should be engaged in battle, it is Members' constitutional duty to say so. If Congress disagrees, [Page: H4468]

those men and women should come home. What Congress cannot do is continue to avoid the question. We support H. Con. Res. 55 because it would force this long-overdue debate and vote.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, via Scott Roehm at The Constitution Project, with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mickey Edwards,

Vice President, Aspen Institute; former Member of Congress (R-OK) and Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee; co-chair The Constitution Project War Powers Committee.

LOUIS FISHER,

Specialist in Constitutional Law, Law Library of Congress (ret.); Scholar in Residence, The Constitution Project.

VIRGINIA SLOAN,

President, The Constitution Project.

--

COUNCIL FOR A LIVABLE WORLD,

Washington, DC, June 16, 2015.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE MCGOVERN, Later this week, Congress has the opportunity to take action it has conspicuously avoided: debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria.

While America has dropped thousands of bombs, deployed 3,500 troops--with plans to send 450 more and spent billions of dollars in our latest war, Congress has failed to perform its most basic constitutional responsibility: to debate and vote on war.

But this week, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), are demanding that Congress do its job.

They have introduced a bipartisan resolution, H. Con. Res. 55, which could force the House of Representatives to debate and vote on the war.

If adopted, the legislation would direct the President to withdraw all American military personnel from Iraq by December 31, 2015 unless Congress votes to authorize the use of force.

The right of Congress to declare war is fundamental to our Constitution, yet Congress has avoided taking a stand on our most recent war in the Middle East. In addition, Congress holds the power of the purse, and yet the war is costing at least $9 million per day without congressional approval. Congress owes it to the thousands of Americans we have put into harm's way to ensure it is for the right reasons.

The President should not be permitted to wage war without Congressional approval; he should not be able to claim outdated authorizations for the use of military force dating to 2001 and 2002 as his cover for war.

We urge you to support H. Con. Res. 55, the McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution. It is time for Congress to take a stand.

Sincerely,

ANGELA CANTERBURY,

Executive Director.

John Isaacs,

Senior Fellow.

--

WIN WITHOUT WAR

,

Washington, DC, June 16, 2015.

On behalf of the Win Without War coalition and our 11 million members, we urge Rep. Jim McGovern to SUPPORT H.Con.Res.55.

This bipartisan resolution, introduced by Reps. McGovern (D-MA), Jones (R-NC), and Lee (D-CA), would force Congress to debate the use of military force in Iraq and Syria. We expect the resolution to be on the floor tomorrow, June 17.

While America has dropped thousands of bombs, deployed 3,500 troops, and spent billions of dollars in our latest war, Congress has failed to perform its most basic responsibility to debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria. After ten months of bombing Iraq and Syria, it is past time for Congress to do its job and debate and vote on this war. It is simply unconscionable that we are asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in a war that Congress has not voted on.

The McGovern-Jones-Lee Resolution would force Congress to vote on the war in Iraq and Syria, and, importantly, if Congress continues to shirk its constitutional duty, it would bring our troops home. In the words of Rep. McGovern, ``if this House doesn't have the stomach to carry out its constitutional duty to debate and authorize this latest war, then we should bring our troops home. If the cowardly Congress can go home each night to their families and loved ones, then our brave troops should

receive that same privilege.''

However one feels about this latest war in the Middle East, we can all agree that it is long past time for Congress to do its job and finally debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria.

Congress needs to fulfill its constitutional duty of debating and voting on this war. We hope you will SUPPORT H.Con.Res.55.

As always, if we can be of any additional assistance as your office considers this important resolution, please let us know.

Sincerely,

STEPHEN MILES

,

Advocacy Director, Win Without War.

--

FRIENDS COMMITTEE ON

NATIONAL LEGISLATION,

Washington, DC, June 17, 2015.

Today your boss will take an important vote on war authority. The House is expected to consider H.Con.Res.55, a privileged resolution led by Reps. Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee. By exercising Congress' ability under the War Powers Resolution to urge cessation of hostilities absent a congressional authorization of force, the resolution would serve as a forcing mechanism for Congress to finally debate the war against ISIS that has lasted more than ten months without specific congressional

debate and authorization.

Nearly ten months ago, the Obama administration sidestepped its constitutional mandate to seek authority from Congress before engaging in new military hostilities. This greatly expanded the scope of the 2001 AUMF and the scope of executive war powers. Further, it deprived the American people and their elected representatives of an opportunity to express opposition, or to ask important questions about the overall strategy, and why more war will solve the region's problems, when it has failed to

do so any other time.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) urges your boss to take this opportunity to debate the war, to vote for the re-establishment of congressional war power, and to vote in favor of H.Con.Res.55. It's time for Congress to weigh in on this issue.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Elizabeth@fcnl.org if you have any further questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Maggie O'Donnell,

Program Assistant, Militarism and Civil Liberties, Friends Committee on National Legislation.

3:13 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I first would like to insert in the Record a letter of support from the Constitution Project, which is signed by our former colleague, Republican Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma; a letter in support of this resolution from the Council for a Liveable War; a letter of support from Win Without War; and a letter of support from the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

THE CONSTITUTION PROJECT,

Washington, DC, June 17, 2015.

Hon. Jim McGovern,

House of Representatives.

Hon. WALTER JONES,

House of Representatives.

Hon. Barbara Lee,

House of Representatives.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVES MCGOVERN, JONES AND LEE: We write to applaud you for your efforts to compel Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility to decide on war. For ten months President Obama has prosecuted the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) under a specious legal claim that Congress authorized it fourteen years ago. Congress has done no such thing. It is high time that Members weighed in.

We take no position on grave policy choices about whether to continue to use military force against ISIL, and if so how. But Congress must. The Framers vested the war power in the legislative branch precisely because they believed that young Americans should only be put in harm's way when the people, through their representatives' collective judgment, approved it.

We know this is the most difficult issue that Members face. It is also your most important responsibility. If Congress agrees that U.S. service men and woman should be engaged in battle, it is Members' constitutional duty to say so. If Congress disagrees, [Page: H4468]

those men and women should come home. What Congress cannot do is continue to avoid the question. We support H. Con. Res. 55 because it would force this long-overdue debate and vote.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, via Scott Roehm at The Constitution Project, with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mickey Edwards,

Vice President, Aspen Institute; former Member of Congress (R-OK) and Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee; co-chair The Constitution Project War Powers Committee.

LOUIS FISHER,

Specialist in Constitutional Law, Law Library of Congress (ret.); Scholar in Residence, The Constitution Project.

VIRGINIA SLOAN,

President, The Constitution Project.

--

COUNCIL FOR A LIVABLE WORLD,

Washington, DC, June 16, 2015.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE MCGOVERN, Later this week, Congress has the opportunity to take action it has conspicuously avoided: debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria.

While America has dropped thousands of bombs, deployed 3,500 troops--with plans to send 450 more and spent billions of dollars in our latest war, Congress has failed to perform its most basic constitutional responsibility: to debate and vote on war.

But this week, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), are demanding that Congress do its job.

They have introduced a bipartisan resolution, H. Con. Res. 55, which could force the House of Representatives to debate and vote on the war.

If adopted, the legislation would direct the President to withdraw all American military personnel from Iraq by December 31, 2015 unless Congress votes to authorize the use of force.

The right of Congress to declare war is fundamental to our Constitution, yet Congress has avoided taking a stand on our most recent war in the Middle East. In addition, Congress holds the power of the purse, and yet the war is costing at least $9 million per day without congressional approval. Congress owes it to the thousands of Americans we have put into harm's way to ensure it is for the right reasons.

The President should not be permitted to wage war without Congressional approval; he should not be able to claim outdated authorizations for the use of military force dating to 2001 and 2002 as his cover for war.

We urge you to support H. Con. Res. 55, the McGovern-Jones-Lee resolution. It is time for Congress to take a stand.

Sincerely,

ANGELA CANTERBURY,

Executive Director.

John Isaacs,

Senior Fellow.

--

WIN WITHOUT WAR

,

Washington, DC, June 16, 2015.

On behalf of the Win Without War coalition and our 11 million members, we urge Rep. Jim McGovern to SUPPORT H.Con.Res.55.

This bipartisan resolution, introduced by Reps. McGovern (D-MA), Jones (R-NC), and Lee (D-CA), would force Congress to debate the use of military force in Iraq and Syria. We expect the resolution to be on the floor tomorrow, June 17.

While America has dropped thousands of bombs, deployed 3,500 troops, and spent billions of dollars in our latest war, Congress has failed to perform its most basic responsibility to debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria. After ten months of bombing Iraq and Syria, it is past time for Congress to do its job and debate and vote on this war. It is simply unconscionable that we are asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in a war that Congress has not voted on.

The McGovern-Jones-Lee Resolution would force Congress to vote on the war in Iraq and Syria, and, importantly, if Congress continues to shirk its constitutional duty, it would bring our troops home. In the words of Rep. McGovern, ``if this House doesn't have the stomach to carry out its constitutional duty to debate and authorize this latest war, then we should bring our troops home. If the cowardly Congress can go home each night to their families and loved ones, then our brave troops should

receive that same privilege.''

However one feels about this latest war in the Middle East, we can all agree that it is long past time for Congress to do its job and finally debate and vote on the war in Iraq and Syria.

Congress needs to fulfill its constitutional duty of debating and voting on this war. We hope you will SUPPORT H.Con.Res.55.

As always, if we can be of any additional assistance as your office considers this important resolution, please let us know.

Sincerely,

STEPHEN MILES

,

Advocacy Director, Win Without War.

--

FRIENDS COMMITTEE ON

NATIONAL LEGISLATION,

Washington, DC, June 17, 2015.

Today your boss will take an important vote on war authority. The House is expected to consider H.Con.Res.55, a privileged resolution led by Reps. Jim McGovern, Walter Jones, and Barbara Lee. By exercising Congress' ability under the War Powers Resolution to urge cessation of hostilities absent a congressional authorization of force, the resolution would serve as a forcing mechanism for Congress to finally debate the war against ISIS that has lasted more than ten months without specific congressional

debate and authorization.

Nearly ten months ago, the Obama administration sidestepped its constitutional mandate to seek authority from Congress before engaging in new military hostilities. This greatly expanded the scope of the 2001 AUMF and the scope of executive war powers. Further, it deprived the American people and their elected representatives of an opportunity to express opposition, or to ask important questions about the overall strategy, and why more war will solve the region's problems, when it has failed to

do so any other time.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) urges your boss to take this opportunity to debate the war, to vote for the re-establishment of congressional war power, and to vote in favor of H.Con.Res.55. It's time for Congress to weigh in on this issue.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Elizabeth@fcnl.org if you have any further questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Maggie O'Donnell,

Program Assistant, Militarism and Civil Liberties, Friends Committee on National Legislation.

3:14 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for the gentleman from California and the gentleman from New York. I know that if it were left up to them, they could fashion an AUMF that could get 218 votes here. Quite frankly, we wouldn't be here today if we had done our job, because the only reason why you can bring up a privileged resolution under the War Powers Resolution is if our troops are in harm's way and we haven't acted. This could end right now if the Speaker of the House or the majority leader

would give us a date certain by which we would debate and vote on an AUMF.

Mr. Speaker, I am deeply troubled by our policy in Iraq and Syria. I do not believe it is a clearly defined mission, and I fear that it might be just more of the same.

[Time: 15:15]

I am not convinced that by enlarging our military footprint, we will end the violence in the region, defeat the Islamic State or address the underlying causes of unrest.

Regardless of whether you support the war or oppose the war, believe we should escalate our involvement or place restrictions on it, the bottom line is that Congress needs to debate an AUMF and vote on it. That is our duty. That is our job. If we don't have the guts to do so, then we should at least have the decency to bring our troops homes to their families and to their loved ones.

I hope that each Member of this House, before they come down to this floor to vote on this resolution, takes a minute to look in the mirror. Ask yourself: Why do we get to go home to our families when our troops don't have that privilege?

They have been sent to Iraq and Syria to fight in our name, but we don't have the courage to stand up for them and to authorize the war, and we don't have the guts to bring them home.

Take a minute and ask: We are willing to send our troops into danger; we are willing to spend billions upon billions upon billions of borrowed money for this war, but we are not willing to carry out our constitutional duty, the same Constitution we keep asking our troops to put their lives on the line to protect? How can we keep asking them to sacrifice for us when we are not willing to put anything on the line for them?

I have had colleagues come up against this resolution and say: We share your frustration over the fact that we have not debated and voted on an AUMF. [Page: H4469]

I appreciate that, but I would ask them: What in the world can we do in a bipartisan way to force this question to come to the floor? What is it going to take to get the leadership of this House to say, I am going to schedule an AUMF, and we are going to debate it and vote on it?

We have been involved in this latest war for over 10 months. Our resolution would give them another 6 months to come up with an AUMF, and if they didn't, then we bring our troops home.

This resolution before us, I admit, is a bit of a blunt instrument; but if Congress had lived up to its responsibilities, we wouldn't need to be so blunt. Congress needs a clear deadline for a debate on an AUMF for Iraq and Syria.

That deadline is the withdrawal of our troops by the end of this year. It gives this House, it gives this Republican leadership 6 entire months to get an AUMF enacted. It gives this House and this leadership 6 more months in which to simply do their job.

A vote for this resolution is not a vote to pull out, as some have asserted; it is a vote to give House Republican leadership a deadline that they cannot ignore, to force them to do their duty as leaders of this House by finally bringing an AUMF to the floor for a vote.

I heard some of my colleagues complain that they don't like the President's policy in Iraq and Syria; yet rather than trying to bring an AUMF to the floor to define that policy better, they are simply content to sit back and criticize from the sidelines. That is not what we are here to do. That is not our job.

This is important stuff. War is a big deal. We ought to treat it like it is a big deal. War has become too easy for this Congress. I see no other way to force this issue than by supporting this resolution before us.

I urge my colleagues to vote in support of H. Con. Res. 55, and I yield back the balance of my time.

3:14 PM EDT

Jim McGovern, D-MA 2nd

Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for the gentleman from California and the gentleman from New York. I know that if it were left up to them, they could fashion an AUMF that could get 218 votes here. Quite frankly, we wouldn't be here today if we had done our job, because the only reason why you can bring up a privileged resolution under the War Powers Resolution is if our troops are in harm's way and we haven't acted. This could end right now if the Speaker of the House or the majority leader

would give us a date certain by which we would debate and vote on an AUMF.

Mr. Speaker, I am deeply troubled by our policy in Iraq and Syria. I do not believe it is a clearly defined mission, and I fear that it might be just more of the same.

[Time: 15:15]

I am not convinced that by enlarging our military footprint, we will end the violence in the region, defeat the Islamic State or address the underlying causes of unrest.

Regardless of whether you support the war or oppose the war, believe we should escalate our involvement or place restrictions on it, the bottom line is that Congress needs to debate an AUMF and vote on it. That is our duty. That is our job. If we don't have the guts to do so, then we should at least have the decency to bring our troops homes to their families and to their loved ones.

I hope that each Member of this House, before they come down to this floor to vote on this resolution, takes a minute to look in the mirror. Ask yourself: Why do we get to go home to our families when our troops don't have that privilege?

They have been sent to Iraq and Syria to fight in our name, but we don't have the courage to stand up for them and to authorize the war, and we don't have the guts to bring them home.

Take a minute and ask: We are willing to send our troops into danger; we are willing to spend billions upon billions upon billions of borrowed money for this war, but we are not willing to carry out our constitutional duty, the same Constitution we keep asking our troops to put their lives on the line to protect? How can we keep asking them to sacrifice for us when we are not willing to put anything on the line for them?

I have had colleagues come up against this resolution and say: We share your frustration over the fact that we have not debated and voted on an AUMF. [Page: H4469]

I appreciate that, but I would ask them: What in the world can we do in a bipartisan way to force this question to come to the floor? What is it going to take to get the leadership of this House to say, I am going to schedule an AUMF, and we are going to debate it and vote on it?

We have been involved in this latest war for over 10 months. Our resolution would give them another 6 months to come up with an AUMF, and if they didn't, then we bring our troops home.

This resolution before us, I admit, is a bit of a blunt instrument; but if Congress had lived up to its responsibilities, we wouldn't need to be so blunt. Congress needs a clear deadline for a debate on an AUMF for Iraq and Syria.

That deadline is the withdrawal of our troops by the end of this year. It gives this House, it gives this Republican leadership 6 entire months to get an AUMF enacted. It gives this House and this leadership 6 more months in which to simply do their job.

A vote for this resolution is not a vote to pull out, as some have asserted; it is a vote to give House Republican leadership a deadline that they cannot ignore, to force them to do their duty as leaders of this House by finally bringing an AUMF to the floor for a vote.

I heard some of my colleagues complain that they don't like the President's policy in Iraq and Syria; yet rather than trying to bring an AUMF to the floor to define that policy better, they are simply content to sit back and criticize from the sidelines. That is not what we are here to do. That is not our job.

This is important stuff. War is a big deal. We ought to treat it like it is a big deal. War has become too easy for this Congress. I see no other way to force this issue than by supporting this resolution before us.

I urge my colleagues to vote in support of H. Con. Res. 55, and I yield back the balance of my time.

3:18 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to close.

Let me, first of all, I will conclude the way I began. I want to commend my friend and colleague, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), for raising this issue. It is an issue that has to be raised, and I am in sympathy with many of the things that he said. I don't really think we are really disagreeing here; we are just disagreeing on tactics.

As I have said, the intentions behind this resolution are commendable, but I cannot support this policy which, when you all boil everything down, would require a straight withdrawal without conditions. That is not the right policy for this country, a straight withdrawal without conditions.

I share my colleague's frustration that we haven't acted on a new AUMF. We need to pass an AUMF, but we need to pass the right AUMF.

If we pass this resolution, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will be pushed to pass their own language overriding this measure. What will it look like? I would wager that it won't include the limitations that many of us on this side would like to see.

Worse still, we could just rubberstamp the argument that the 2001 AUMF applies to ISIS in 2015. Again, that is why I said we have to be careful we don't cut off our nose to spite our face.

Now, the President sent us an AUMF. I thought it was a good starting point. I know it was panned on both sides--Republicans thought it was too light; Democrats thought it was too harsh--but it was a good starting point.

There are many things in an AUMF we have to consider. We need to consider time, geography; we need to consider what we do with the previous AUMFs. These are issues that should be debated, and I hope we will debate, but I think the White House put forth a good starting position.

The American people expect us to do our job and pass a new AUMF. They expect us to keep the United States out of another large-scale open-ended war and pass a responsible policy for degrading and defeating ISIS. Voting for withdrawal is not the right way forward. I believe that with all my heart.

Let's vote down this resolution and go back to the drawing board. Chairman Royce and I will work together in a bipartisan way, as we have so many times in the past, and let's put before this Congress the right policy to get this job done.

I urge my colleagues to oppose the resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.

3:18 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to close.

Let me, first of all, I will conclude the way I began. I want to commend my friend and colleague, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), for raising this issue. It is an issue that has to be raised, and I am in sympathy with many of the things that he said. I don't really think we are really disagreeing here; we are just disagreeing on tactics.

As I have said, the intentions behind this resolution are commendable, but I cannot support this policy which, when you all boil everything down, would require a straight withdrawal without conditions. That is not the right policy for this country, a straight withdrawal without conditions.

I share my colleague's frustration that we haven't acted on a new AUMF. We need to pass an AUMF, but we need to pass the right AUMF.

If we pass this resolution, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will be pushed to pass their own language overriding this measure. What will it look like? I would wager that it won't include the limitations that many of us on this side would like to see.

Worse still, we could just rubberstamp the argument that the 2001 AUMF applies to ISIS in 2015. Again, that is why I said we have to be careful we don't cut off our nose to spite our face.

Now, the President sent us an AUMF. I thought it was a good starting point. I know it was panned on both sides--Republicans thought it was too light; Democrats thought it was too harsh--but it was a good starting point.

There are many things in an AUMF we have to consider. We need to consider time, geography; we need to consider what we do with the previous AUMFs. These are issues that should be debated, and I hope we will debate, but I think the White House put forth a good starting position.

The American people expect us to do our job and pass a new AUMF. They expect us to keep the United States out of another large-scale open-ended war and pass a responsible policy for degrading and defeating ISIS. Voting for withdrawal is not the right way forward. I believe that with all my heart.

Let's vote down this resolution and go back to the drawing board. Chairman Royce and I will work together in a bipartisan way, as we have so many times in the past, and let's put before this Congress the right policy to get this job done.

I urge my colleagues to oppose the resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.