Holding the President Accountable on Libya

by Ron Paul

Last week, more than 70 days after President Obama sent our military to attack Libya without a congressional declaration of war, the House of Representatives finally voted on two resolutions attempting to rein in the president. This debate was long overdue, as polls show Americans increasingly are frustrated by congressional inaction. According to a CNN poll last week, 55 percent of the American people believe that Congress, not the president, should have the final authority to decide whether the U.S. should continue its military mission in Libya. Yet for more than 70 days Congress has ignored its constitutional obligations and allowed the president to usurp its authority.

Finally, Congressman Dennis Kucinich was able to bring to the floor a resolution asserting that proper constitutional war power authority resides with Congress. His resolution simply stated that “Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.”

Opponents of the withdrawal resolution said the 15 day deadline was too abrupt. But as I pointed out during debate, the president attacked Libya abruptly – he didn’t even bother to consult Congress – so why can’t he order an end to military action just as abruptly? When members of Congress took an oath of office to defend the Constitution, we did not pledge to defend it only gradually, a little bit at a time. On the contrary, we must defend it vigorously and completely from the moment we take that oath. I was pleased that 87 Republicans were able to put the Constitution first and support this resolution.

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An Open Letter to Gov. Rick Perry: Stand and Fight (or Tuck Tail and Run)?

On May 24, 2011, Texas Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) wrote Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, House Speaker Rep. Joe Straus and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott regarding HB 1937 (Texas push-back on TSA abuse) a letter. In that letter Rep. Simpson wisely stated:

Gentlemen, we find ourselves at a watershed moment today. The federal government is attempting to deprive the citizens of Texas of their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 9 of the Texas Constitution. If we do not stand for our citizens in the face of this deprivation of their personal rights and dignity, who will?

As we all now know, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, fearing federal threats of reprisals, convinced a majority of Texas senators, who had earlier committed their support to this bill, to flip-flop leaving the senate bill sponsor, Sen. Dan Patrick, high and dry. The bill died before it could be heard on the senate floor.

Following this fiasco, a tsunami of angry phone calls, emails and faxes and, in some cases, personal visits to Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and senate members resulted in the Lt. Governor reversing his earlier position by requesting Gov. Perry now make Simpson’s bill a subject of special interest, in essence, resurrecting HB 1937 and moving it to the senate floor for a hearing.

Two actions must now happen: (1) the bill must be filed (DONE!), and; (2) Governor Perry must request the bill be sent to him.

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The Elderly, Poor, and Disabled

It is common for those that oppose any reforms in entitlement programs to lump the elderly, poor, and disabled into a category of folks that must be protected from reductions in government programs. It drives me crazy when the media broad brushes these groups to support arguments against any real reform of any government program. It’s as if every elderly, poor, or disabled person has to rely on a government program to survive.

Nothing could be further from the truth to think that these groups need government support. The “elderly” are actually as a group some of the most affluent Americans both economically and emotionally. After years of working, many elderly Americans own their homes outright, have both private pensions and social security, and many work to supplement their savings and retirement. There are some elderly on a “fixed” income but it is not every elderly American.

The “poor” in America are a very diverse group of individuals. The first question we need to ask is why are they poor? Could it be they have been depending on government programs instead of their own ingenuity? Could it be they have been brought up by single mother no father “families” that have been perpetuated by government programs that incentivize unhealthy behavior? Could it be a choice to rely on drugs and alcohol? Have government bureaucrats that depend on these vices for their living become advocates to keep people poor? The failure of government education has kept people from breaking out of their socioeconomic circumstances and we need to wrestle schools from the government. Should we be supporting programs that perpetuate a hopeless future?

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