M. Speaker: Lets be clear: without prior Congressional authorization, under the War Powers Act, the President may only commit armed forces to hostilities for sixty days if there is a direct attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions or its armed forces.
There was none, so there is no sixty day clock and the President’s unprovoked attack on Libya – from Day One – constituted an illegal and unconstitutional act of the highest significance.
If the President felt there was moral justification to attack Libya, he was constitutionally required to make his case to Congress and get its authorization. He did not.
Some say, “we’re already committed; it’s too late for Congress to order a withdrawal without harming America’s reputation or undermining her allies.” If we take that position, then we have just changed the Constitution to read as follows: “The President may attack any country he wants for any reason he wants and the Congress has no choice but to follow.”
The President has crossed a bright Constitutional line and this Congress has a clear moral and Constitutional duty to intervene.
If we fail to do so, we will have destroyed the work of the American founders by fundamentally changing the legislative and executive functions on the most momentous decision our nation can make and take our country down dark and bloody roads the American Founders sought to avoid.
House Floor remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock, June 3, 2011.