On November 3, 2014 Rep. McGovern of Massachusetts asked for and was granted permission to address the US House of Representatives regarding the Congress ignoring its constitutional repsonsibilities to vote for war against ISIS:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my great frustration and anger that this Congress–the 113th Congress–continues to ignore its constitutional responsibilities to debate and vote on whether to authorize the U.S. war against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.
On July 25, this House voted 370-40 that, if the United States engages in sustained combat operations in Iraq, then the House would need to authorize such actions. Let me read exactly what this House approved by such an overwhelming, bipartisan majority:
The President shall not deploy or maintain United States Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization for such use enacted after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.
That vote, supported by 180 Republicans and 190 Democrats, was taken nearly 4.5 months ago.
What has happened since then? On August 8, just 2 weeks after the House vote, the U.S. began bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq. We are now bombing Iraq to protect infrastructure, as part of coordinated military operations with Kurdish and Iraqi military forces, and to take back or to hold cities, towns, and other territory. We are flying dozens of bombing sorties nearly every day in Iraq.
Mr. Speaker, we have also escalated the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, ostensibly as trainers and advisers. On November 7, the President announced yet another escalation in the number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq, sending roughly an additional 1,500 troops to the region for a “comprehensive training effort” for Iraq’s army.
When they arrive, this will put the number of American troops in Iraq at around 3,000. The U.S. Central Command is also working on setting up new “expeditionary advise-and-assist operation centers” far outside the cities of Baghdad and Erbil.
What else has happened since July? We expanded the war to Syria. On September 17, this House voted to include in the short-term continuing resolution authority to arm and train certain Syrian rebel forces, ostensibly to provide ground troops inside Syria to fight Islamic State forces.
Five days later, the U.S. began bombing inside Syria. We have flown scores of bombing missions inside Syrian territory against the Islamic State and–and this should come as no surprise–other radical groups like the Khorasan Group.
This week, we are in military negotiations with Turkey to establish a safe zone–a no-fly zone–along the northern border of Syria that will cover territory inside of Syria and inside Turkey.
The President has asked for an additional $5.6 billion from Congress to augment the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations account, the OCO. About $3.4 billion of that would go to the operations against the Islamic State, and another $1.6 billion would directly support the Iraqi training and equipping mission. I have no doubt that all or most of those funds will be included in the omnibus appropriations bill next week.
Mr. Speaker, if this doesn’t add up to our forces being engaged in sustained military combat operations, then what in the world does? Many Members keep talking about prohibiting U.S. troops from having boots on the ground.
Mr. Speaker, we already have nearly 3,000 pairs of boots on the ground in Iraq, and I don’t know how many people we have supporting and carrying out bombing missions because the Pentagon and the White House haven’t told us.
Enough is enough. This House needs to draft, debate, and vote on whether to authorize this vast array of military operations known as Operation Inherent Resolve before we adjourn this year.
This war began under this Congress, the 113th Congress. It has escalated under the 113th Congress. It has expanded from Iraq to Syria and now to Turkey under the 113th Congress. It is the responsibility of the 113th Congress to authorize it or not. We need to take care of our business–real, serious, life-and-death business–before we walk out the door next week. We need to do our jobs.
No more excuses, no more whining about how the White House should send Congress a request. It is the institutional and constitutional duty of the Congress of the United States to decide matters of war and peace. It is time for the leadership of this House to step up to the plate and bring an authorization to the floor to be debated and voted on before we adjourn.
If not, then shame on this House and shame on the leadership for failing to carry out our most sacred duty to our uniformed men and women, their families, and the American people.”
Source: Congressional Record
See video: We’re At War
See related video: US Bombs Syria Without Congressional Approval https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLxgmDjMbMQ
See video: Grayson: Up to Congress to Declare War https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXUJIgKNyts
See video: Floor Speech, Syria June 19 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rCvfwoRGMg