Scalise: Dems Tie Hands of Commander in Chief’s Ability to Protect America
WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) delivered a speech on the House Floor in opposition of Democrats' reckless attempt to restrict President Trump's ability to protect our nation.
Whip Scalise criticized Speaker Pelosi for approving a scheme to bypass regular committee proceedings and strip Republicans of the opportunity to have an honest debate on AUMF concerns. Their destructive strategy would make the world less safe and less secure.
"I want to thank my colleague from Texas for yielding and [Rep. Michael McCaul's] leadership on our ability to make sure that any administration, Republican or Democrat has the ability for the President to carry out their duties as Commander in Chief. And that's what's at stake here. This amendment that we're debating right now that would completely repeal the 2002 AUMF, [and] not [allow us to] have an honest conversation, a sincere debate about if there should be any changes to it, modernize [it], [and] work with the Administration to make sure that, again, any Commander in Chief should have the ability to defend America, to respond to attacks on Americans both here in America or abroad.
"And so, as you look at this debate as well as the vote we're going to be taking shortly on the Iranian language that would limit the ability of the President to respond to attacks coming from Iran. Another major concern [is] about whether or not we are going to have a Commander in Chief who can actually defend America. And there are things that are going on right now that we all know are an underlying part of this debate. And let's start with the taking out of one of the bloodiest terrorists in the history of this country – Soleimani, who was just taken out. Primarily, using the authority of the 2002 AUMF, which would be gutted if this were to pass. And so, I don't think most people in this country think it's a debatable question of a bloody terrorist who killed hundreds of American troops. I mean, this guy had the blood of over 600 U.S. servicemen and women on his hands. He was in Iraq plotting to take out more Americans, to kill more Americans and he was taken out.
"Is there really a question over whether or not that was the right thing to do? I think most Americans would agree he was a brutal terrorist. And whether it was Osama bin Laden, or al-Baghdadi, or any other terrorist who wants to kill Americans, our Commander in Chief ought to have the ability to protect Americans and stop terrorists who want to kill more Americans. And so, to take away that ability is reckless. It's destructive to this country. Again, if you wanted to have an honest debate, Madam Speaker, you would have seen the committees of jurisdiction have true hearings on this, bring in people in the Administration, talk about what the right way to approach this is. That's not what happened.
"They literally took a coin bill, a coin bill, and brought it forward with these two amendments so that there can't be that honest debate on both sides. Shutting out the minority's ability to bring amendments, to have again, an honest discussion about what the process should be. In terms of Iran, just think about what they're doing there. It's not only Iran, it's Iranian proxies that carry out attacks against service members of the United States and our allies, and [Democrats] take that away too.
"Don't tie the hands of any President of the United States, Republican or Democrat, for being able to defend this country both here and abroad. I oppose both amendments and would hope we reject it and with that, I yield back the balance of my time."