Lee: Lack of Libya Debate "Shameful and Discouraging"

April 5, 2011

Along with Senator Rand Paul, Senator Lee recently cosponsored a resolution that stipulated: “The President does not have the power to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

The quote comes from remarks then-Senator Barack Obama made in 2007.  Today, Senator Paul offered the resolution as a motion to the pending business on the floor and requested just 30 minutes for debate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid denied the request and only allowed 10 minutes for debate, then sought to table the motion to avoid a vote on it.  The vote to table the motion passed. 

“We channel the war power in the Constitution so as to make sure these discussions always come to the forefront, always be brought up by the elected representatives of the people in Congress,” Lee said on the Senate floor just before the vote. “And for that reason, although we give power to the President to be the Commander in Chief in Article Two of the Constitution, in Article One of the Constitution we reserve that power – that power to declare war to Congress.  

“This is how we guarantee the people’s voice will be heard and that people’s sons and daughters won’t be sent off to war without some public debate and discussion by those who have been duly elected by the people and stand accountable to the people.”

Lee’s remarks were cut short as time expired.