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The President Must Consult Congress Before Going to War

by Walter Jones
June 29, 2013

Congressman Walter Jones delivered this message by video to the Schiller Institute Conference in San Francisco, June 29, 2013.

I am pleased to be speaking to the Schiller Institute conference on a “New Paradigm for Mankind: A Second American Revolution,” in San Francisco.

I am Walter Jones. I represent the Third Congressional district of North Carolina, which is the home of Camp LeJeune Marine base. I want to talk about two issues. One actually happened today.

I participated in a bipartisan news conference. Even Senator [Rand] Paul [R-Ky.] came over from the Senate to participate. He has put in a Senate bill—we have a House bill that says no funds going to the rebels in Syria, unless Congress debates and votes up or down. This would be a rarity, quite frankly. We in Congress no longer debate whether we should send our young men and women to war. That’s the tragedy of the world we live in now.

No President, be he Democrat or Republican, should have the authority to commit a young man or woman to die for this country, unless the Constitution is followed, which requires Congress to debate and vote to declare war. That, we all know, has not happened since World War II.

But it’s even gotten worse. If you remember, the current President bombed Libya. Yes, Qaddafi was an evil man—we all agree with that, and probably should have been removed, but not that way. We have a Constitution. The President, in my opinion, should have come to Congress and said, “I believe I have a justification to remove Qaddafi from Libya.” That never happened.

What did happen, according to what I understand, is that he called the leadership of the House, the leadership of the Senate, and said, I’m sending jets to bomb Libya. That is not the greatness of America.

I have introduced a resolution, actually, called
H.Con.Res. 40, that says—I’ll read it to you very quickly:

“Expressing the sense of Congress that the President is prohibited under the Constitution from initiating war against Syria, without express Congressional authorization, and the appropriations of funds for the express purpose of waging such a war.” That is the Constitution. That’s not Walter Jones—that’s the Constitution.

I just put this resolution in two days ago, and those of you who agree with my resolution that we should debate before we commit our young men and women to war, maybe you could contact your Member of Congress, and ask him or her if he or she would join by cosponsoring H.Con.Res. 40.

Reinstate Glass-Steagall

In addition, there’s an economic issue I’d like to speak about very briefly, and that’s called Glass-Steagall.

We in Congress need you to contact your Members of Congress to join us in an effort to reinstate Glass-Steagall. I am a co-sponsor of the bill introduced by Marcy Kaptur [D-Ohio], that will reinstate Glass-Steagall. I think we’re up to about 60 or 62 Members of Congress now. We need to get somewhere around 150 to 160 Members.

We also need for you to contact the leadership of both parties, in Washington, D.C., and ask them to bring legislation to the floor that would reinstate Glass-Steagall. Our country is in deep economic peril, and my concern is that if we do not show some strength by reinstating Glass-Steagall, then our country will be headed for trouble.

Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time to talk about these two issues. I hope you have a great conference, and let’s work together to save America. Thank you.