Jones: Congress' Approval Required for War
Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC)
Congressman Walter B. Jones, a Republican from North Carolina, has proposed a resolution requiring the White House to receive Congressional approval before going to war with Iran. Jones views Iran as a threat, and even suggests that some Iranian officials may be yearning for a militarily confrontation with the United States. However, he and his 6 co-sponsors (4 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are adherents to the Constitutional statutes set in place by the Founding Fathers, and insist that any action against Iran be authorized by Congress following hearings in its chambers. The January 18, 2007 press release:
JONES ANNOUNCES COSPONSORS OF RESOLUTION REQUIRING CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL PRIOR TO USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAN
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a press conference today on Capitol Hill, Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) was joined by Reps.
Ron Paul (R-TX), John Larson (D-CT), Richard Neal (D-MA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) and Marty Meehan (D-MA) to announce their co-sponsorship of H. J. Res. 14, a joint resolution concerning the use of force by the United States against Iran.
Congressman Walter Jones’ Statement on H. J. Res. 14 follows below:
The people of Eastern North Carolina, who I have the privilege to represent, believe in the Bible and the Constitution. James Madison, who was well-known for his position on the Constitution and the War Powers provision, once said: “The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature … The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”
Too many times this Congress has abdicated its Constitutional duty. Our Constitution states that – while the Commander in Chief has the power to conduct wars – only Congress has the power to authorize war. It’s time for Congress to meet its Constitutional responsibility. H. J. Res. 14 is about Congress meeting its responsibility by requiring specific Congressional authorization before the use of military force against Iran.
One of the many lessons from our involvement in Iraq is that Congress needs to ask the right questions prior to exercising its Constitutional authority to approve the use of military force. Today, there is growing concern – justified or not - that Administration officials are contemplating military action against Iran. We are not naïve. We understand the serious threats posed by Iran, and we know that extreme elements in Iran’s leadership may even welcome military conflict with the United States. The question is how best to address those threats.
This resolution makes it crystal clear that no previous resolution passed by Congress authorizes such a use of force. And – absent a national emergency or an imminent attack by Iran upon the United States or its armed forces - the President must consult with Congress and receive specific authorization before initiating any use of military force against Iran. If the President is contemplating committing our blood and treasure in another war – then he and his administration must come to Congress and make their case. The Congress answers to the American people and must justify why it would be in our national security interests to engage militarily in Iran.
It is our Constitutional responsibility, for both chambers of Congress, to hold hearings, to ask questions, to evaluate the threats and to determine the best way to counter these threats. If military action against Iran is necessary, then we in Congress will meet our Constitutional responsibility and authorize it. If no military action is contemplated, then there should be no objection to this commonsense resolution.
For additional information or to schedule an interview with Congressman Walter B. Jones please contact Kathleen Joyce at (202) 225-3415.