Press Release ● Defense and National Security
For Immediate Release: 
March 11, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today against a Republican motion that would have stopped the Senate-passed war powers resolution from being sent to the President’s desk. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video.



Click here to watch the video.
 
“I doubt that there is a person on this Floor who disagrees with the premises that [Ranking Member Michael] McCaul just stated. Soleimani was a bad person. I said during the course of debate on the Slotkin [resolution], which referenced exactly that premise, that no one lamented the loss of Mr. Soleimani. No one. That's not what this bill is about, nor is that what this amendment is about. This bill, which is called a partisan bill by Mr. McCaul, had 15 percent of the Republicans in the United States Senate vote for it.

“This bill, called a partisan bill, says -- the bill we're voting on, the bill we're going to pass, says ‘Members of the United States Armed Forces and intelligence community and all those involved in the planning of the January 2, 2020 strike on Qassem Soleimani, including President Donald J. Trump, should be commended for their efforts in a successful mission.’ That's what the bill that we are asking you to vote for says. Does that sound to you like a partisan document?

“Now, ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of this amendment is to kill this bill. This is a Senate bill. It will send it back to committee. It will not allow it to pass with an amendment, and it will preclude it from going to the President of the United States. Now, what this issue is about is about our Constitution, about the power of this body, of the responsibility of this body, of the authority of this body to declare or not declare war. That's what this bill is about. And there may be some in this body who want to shrink from that responsibility and send it to the President of the United States, but our Founders believed that is not what our democracy ought to be. It ought to be the representatives of the people that take them to war, not a President, any President, Democratic or Republican, to take us to war. This is about our responsibility.

“[The resolution] commends President Trump, commends our armed forces. It allows them to defend themselves if attacked, but it stands for the proposition that I hope all of you are for. That is, we, the Representatives of the American people, who ought to decide on their behalf whether they or their sons and daughters go to the point of the spear, at war. Not just one person. There are a lot of countries in this world where one person makes the decision. They're called dictators. Our Founding Fathers did not want dictators running America.

“I say to my colleagues – of course, our Republican friends who offered this amendment never vote for an MTR because – and I will not read the litany of quotes from so many of you – an MTR is simply to delay and defeat. Your quotes. Not mine.

“So I ask all of us, without exception, vote against this MTR. Vote to send this bill to the President of the United States, [which is] supported by 15 percent of the Republicans in the United States Senate. It’s not a partisan bill. It doesn't attack President Trump. In fact, it says our troops and President Trump ought to be commended. It's in the bill. Don't tell me this is a partisan act. It is not. It is an act of responsibility to our oath of office and to the Constitution of the United States. Vote no.”