Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

In Opposition to Amendments on Iran and Iraq

January 30, 2020
(Washington, D.C) Congressman McClintock (R-CA) delivered the attached remarks today in opposition to amendments to H.R. 550:
In Opposition to Amendments on Iran and Iraq
H.R. 550
Congressman Tom McClintock
January 30, 2020
Mr. Speaker:
The Khanna amendment forbids the President from taking action that he can’t take anyway.  With or without this amendment, the President cannot attack Iran – or any country – without congressional authorization, unless it attacks us.  Even then, his powers are limited to ordering defensive actions until Congress acts.  
The attack on Soleimani in Iraq was against an enemy combatant in a war zone authorized by Congress.  It was not an attack on Iran.
The only practical effect of this amendment is to send a message of irresolution to our enemies and to take a cheap shot at the President by implying he would do something he cannot do. 
The Lee amendment repeals the AUMF that Congress adopted when it foolishly authorized the Iraq war in 2002.  Under our Constitution ONLY Congress can start a war, but after that, ONLY the President can wage it or conduct the negotiations to end it.  
You cannot un-ring a bell and you cannot un-start a war.  Once unleashed, the war-making authority continues until it is terminated by treaty or agreement.       
Here are the lessons of this whole sorry saga in Iraq:
Congress should only declare war when our nation is attacked.  
When we declare war, we must put the full resources, resolve, attention, fury and might of the nation behind it and see it through as quickly and decisively as possible.  
And most of all, having handed the President that power and having sent troops into battle, Congress must stand behind its decision no matter how long or hard that road may be.
# # #