Washington, DC – Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Walter Jones (NC-03) hosted a press conference today to introduce a bipartisan resolution reclaiming Congress’s constitutional right to declare war. H.Res. 922 would define presidential wars not declared by Congress as impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said: "For decades, Congress has ceded its Constitutional responsibility of deciding whether or not to declare war, to the President. As a result, we have found ourselves in a state of perpetual war, without a declaration of war by Congress and without input from the American people. Since 9/11 alone, our country has spent trillions of dollars on interventionist regime change wars, costing the lives of many Americans, taking a toll on our veterans, and causing people in our communities to struggle and suffer due to a lack of resources. Our bipartisan resolution aims to end presidential wars, and hold Congress accountable so it does its job in making the serious and costly decision about whether or not to send our nation’s sons and daughters to war."
"We are here today because Congress is not meeting its constitutional responsibility," said Congressman Jones. "If Congress does not debate sending your son or daughter to fight for this country, then we don’t need a Congress anyway. Nothing is more sacred or important than sending a man or woman to die for this country."
Bruce Fein, constitutional lawyer, said: "No war is worth fighting if the President is unable to convince a majority of House and Senate members to vote for a congressional declaration of war as required by Article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution that Members of Congress are obligated, by oath or affirmation, to defend."
Michael Marceau, Veterans For Peace, President, DC Area Chapter, said: "Under the U.S. Constitution, it has been the duty of Congress to declare war if they deemed it necessary to do so. For more than half a century, our representatives have relinquished this very important job. This has resulted in many unnecessary military interventions all around the globe, causing untold millions of deaths and injuries, tens of millions of refugees, and destruction and environmental contamination of dozens of countries. It is time to reverse this course of action by having our members of Congress do the jobs they were elected to do. Veterans For Peace supports H.Res. 922 and urges Congress to take back its assigned responsibilities under the Constitution. We appreciate the efforts of Rep. Jones and Rep. Gabbard to introduce H.Res. 922 and urge all our members to contact their representatives to demand that they cosponsor this."
Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action, Senior Director, Policy and Political Affairs, said: "It’s long past time to stop permanent presidential wars and for the Executive Branch to ask for congressional authorization and for Congress to vote on war as the constitution dictates. That’s why Peace Action supports House Resolution 922, introduced by Representatives Walter B. Jones (NC-3) and Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2), that warns Presidents that circumventing the constitution and failing to get congressional approval for wars will be considered an impeachable offense."
On the House floor, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:
"Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive authority to declare war. But the last time Congress officially declared war was December 8th, 1941 – the day the US entered World War II. Ever since, Congress has failed to uphold their constitutional responsibility and have instead ceded power to the President. So, we remain in a state of perpetual war, led by presidents in both parties at great cost to the American people with no declaration of war by Congress and no input from the American people.
"The direct and indirect costs of these presidential wars are astounding. They take a toll on our troops, our veterans, and on the American people. Since 9/11 alone, we’ve spent trillions of dollars on regime-change wars and nation-building while people in our communities suffer and struggle because of a lack of resources here at home, what to mention the costs borne by our troops, those who pay the ultimate price, as well as those who come home with wounds that are visible and invisible. The American people deserve accountability. Mr. Walter Jones and I have introduced a bipartisan resolution 922 to make sure that Congress fulfills its constitutional role, ends presidential wars, and has robust debate before making the decision to send our troops into battle."
Background:H.Res 922 would reclaim Congress’s constitutional right to declare war by:
- Defining presidential wars not declared by Congress under Article I, section 8, clause 11 (Declare War Clause) as impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors"
- Prohibiting the President from perpetuating ongoing wars or supplying war materials, military troops, trainers, or advisers, military intelligence, financial support or their equivalent in association, cooperation, assistance, or common cause without first receiving congressional authorization
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a leading voice for peace in Congress, advocating against counterproductive, regime-change wars. Most recently, she joined a bipartisan coalition of 88 Members of Congress urging President Trump to consult and receive authorization from Congress prior to ordering the use of US military force against Syria. She has also advocated for ending the regime change war in Syria and condemned US support of Saudi Arabia in the Yemen civil war.
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Emily Latimer, (202) 604-2330