WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 1) — Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called on Congress to oppose the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill, citing a 1999 federal court case, which states the only way to end a war is to cut the funding.
“A vote for the supplemental is a vote to reauthorize the war all over again,” Kucinich said. “Congress has constitutional authority to deny the President the authority to go to war and to cut off the funds and end this war. Each appropriations approval is a vote to continue the Iraq war.”
An 1999 U.S. District Court case has reemerged into the debate over Congress’ power to cut off funds and end the war. In the Campbell v. Clinton case 17 Member of Congress, including Kucinich, sued President Bill Clinton for unconstitutionally attacking Serbia without obtaining a declaration of war or other explicit authority from Congress. A war declaration by Congress is required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution.
The Court ruled in favor of the Administration because it could find no constitutional impasse existed between the Legislative and the Executive branch requiring judicial intervention. Congress had appropriated funds for the war and therefore chose not to remove U.S. forces. The significance of this case is that the court ruled the only way for Congress to end a war is to cut off funding.
“Congress can debate and pass legislation for redeployment, phased redeployment, a resolution to end the war or a non-binding resolution disapproving of the troop surge. But none of this will have any legal effect. Each and every time Congress voted for a supplemental bill, they voted to reauthorize the war all over again,” Kucinich said.
The supplemental appropriations bill is scheduled to be voted on by the House of Representatives soon.
“The Administration does not have to pay any attention to Congress’ attempt to guide the war. Once Congress gave its consent for military action, it did not have the authority to steer the conduct of the war. Now, the only option Congress has to end the war is to withdraw approval for the war through a cut off of funds,” Kucinich said.
“The Campbell case makes it obvious that as long as Congress continues to fund the war, it cannot simultaneously argue that it’s being usurped with respect to the war powers.
“Each appropriations vote gives the President implied consent to continue the war. That is why Congress needs to take a stand and vote down the supplemental. ”