Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Votes to Reaffirm Congress’s Constitutional Obligation to Declare War

June 17, 2015
Press Release

Click here to watch video of Rep. Garamendi’s floor speech

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) voted for House Concurrent Resolution 55, which is designed to force Congress to debate and pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that specifically addresses the ISIS threat. The Resolution, presented by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), would accomplish this by requiring the removal of any forces that were deployed to Iraq and Syria on or after August 7, 2014 except for those necessary to protect diplomatic personnel until Congress follows its constitutional obligation to debate and vote on an AUMF for the war. The resolution was defeated on the House Floor by a vote of 139-288.

“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is clear: Congress, and Congress alone, shall have the power to declare war,” said Congressman Garamendi. “Make no mistake: the current campaign against ISIS is a war. The President says that he is authorized to conduct this campaign under previous Authorizations for the Use of Military Force. I disagree.”

Garamendi continued, “We have lost seven service members in this undeclared war. Seven of our sons have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country in a war which this Congress has shown absolutely no responsibility. This has to change. This resolution is an effort to force a debate and vote on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq and Syria.”

Congressman Garamendi has repeatedly called for Congress to consider an authorization for the war in Iraq and Syria. The Congressman has advocated for a narrowly tailored authorization that is limited in geography and time and prohibits the use of ground forces except during special operations to kill or capture key ISIS leadership and rescue American citizens.

In February, the President sent to Congress a draft AUMF for the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, House Leadership has refused to allow even a committee vote on this or any other proposed AUMF.

More than 11 months ago, the House approved H. Con. Res. 105by a vote of 370-40, which states, “The President shall not deploy or maintain U.S. Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization for such use enacted after the debate of the adoption of this concurrent resolution.”