Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Opposes Attempt to Limit Presidential Ability to Protect American Lives

January 9, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC — Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today acted to support the president’s authority to defend America by voting against an empty resolution offered by House Democrats. The so-called “War Powers Resolution” has no legal authority and is a political attempt to weaken the constitutional authority of the commander in chief of our armed forces and his ability to defend our nation from impending threats abroad. The resolution was drafted in response to a successful, targeted air strike by the United States against Qassem Soleimani, a known terrorist responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, that was ordered by President Trump following years of unchecked, increasing Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East.

“Today’s action is partisan, hollow, redundant and dangerous,” Olson stated. “It sends a message to the world that American politicians are willing to tie the hands of our commander in chief when Iran and its terrorist proxies have engaged in years of provocations in the Middle East. I saw Iran’s aggression firsthand when I deployed to the Persian Gulf from May to November 1994. Iran has recently escalated attacks and threats against the U.S including an attack on our American embassy in Iraq ten short days ago. Our Constitution provides Congress with the sole, solemn authority to declare war, but it does not require the president to ask for permission when there is a need to defend Americans and protect our troops in harm’s way.”

Additional information about the Concurrent Resolution:

  • While the Democrats are bringing this to the floor under the guise of a war powers vote, because it is drafted as a House concurrent resolution, it has no chance of actually making it to the President’s desk and is nothing more than a press release.
  • Supreme Court constitutional case law since 1983 has made clear that measures do not have the force of law unless they are formally presented to the President and subject to veto procedures, which concurrent resolutions are not.
  • If this were a serious attempt to remove troops, Democrats would have drafted it as a bill or joint resolution to ensure a constitutional path to enactment, should Congress approve and the President sign.  
  • Speaker Pelosi announced House action before members were fully briefed by the Administration, making the text available to members only 24 hours prior to the vote.
  • The resolution purports to terminate the use of the Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran, but because there is no constitutional path for this resolution to become law, House Democrats are instead using this as a tool to damage the President politically while he works to protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies from Iranian aggression.
  • The resolution would tie the hands of the President in protecting Americans overseas by forbidding the use of force against any part of Iran’s government or military, even if they are threatening or attacking American civilians, diplomats or commerce.
  • It would also jeopardize relationships with our allies, including Israel, by preventing the U.S. from supporting allies in the region should they need to take defensive action against Iran.
  • The rule providing for consideration of H. Con. Res. 83 includes a provision to change House Rules to prevent any individual member from forcing a floor vote on directing the removal of troops from hostilities in Iran for the remainder of the 116th Congress and instead gives sole authority to Speaker Pelosi.