Gaetz Defends Voting With Democrats on War Powers Resolution

January 10, 2020 Updated: January 10, 2020
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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of three Republicans to vote with Democrats to approve the war powers resolution on Jan. 9, defended his decision.

“Killing Terrorist Soleimani was the right call. Ending the spilling of patriotic blood and American treasure in the Middle East will be even better. I know our President wants to wind down these undeclared, unconstitutional, unfocused wars,” Gaetz said in a statement on Thursday.

On the House floor before the vote, Gaetz told lawmakers: “I take a backseat to no member of this body when it comes to defending the president. This resolution offers no criticism of the president, no critique, it doesn’t criticize the president’s attack on Soleimani. Matter of fact, this resolution doesn’t even say Soleimani’s name in it!”

“Yet it does articulate our very robust basis for self-defense, at times even preemptory self-defense to defend our troops, and it also articulates our non-delegable duty as members of the United States Congress to speak to matters of war and peace.”

“I think it’s ludicrous to suggest that we are impairing the troops from doing their job by not doing our job articulated in the Constitution,” he added.

Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) also outlined why they voted for the non-binding resolution.

“If we go to war, it needs to be with the blessing and the support of the people and a clear mission that our soldiers can accomplish. We do that by following the vision of our founding fathers—we debate it on the floor of the House,” Massie said on the House floor.

Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), a former GOP member and the only Independent in the House, also voted with Democrats.

Thirteen members missed the 224-194 vote; eight Democrats voted against the resolution: Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), Eliane Luria (D-Va.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), and Max Rose (D-N.Y.).

“President Trump was justified in killing a terrorist who was responsible for the murder of hundreds of American servicemembers and was in the process of planning to kill more. I appreciate the President’s efforts to de-escalate conflict in the face of Iranian retaliation and support his diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions to advance our goals of ensuring Iran does not gain nuclear weapons and to end their support of terrorist activities,” Rose said in a statement.

“I know all too well the real costs of war and sending troops into harm’s way is the most consequential decision I could make. Unfortunately, today’s War Powers Resolution is a non-binding resolution that simply restates existing law and sends the message that war is imminent. I refuse to play politics with questions of war and peace and therefore will not support this resolution.”

Luria said she voted against the resolution “because if we must commit our forces to sustained combat operations to protect our nation, Congress has the duty to take on the more urgent task of debating a new AUMF [authority for use of military force].”

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