A Constitutional Confrentation To Stop The War In Iraq

Arlington, VA Feb 19, 2007

• Former Senator Calls Upon the Democratically Controlled Congress to Place Before George Bush and his Republican Supporters in Congress a Law to End the War in Iraq.

ARLINGTON, VA -- Former U.S. senator and current Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel called today for a 'constitutional confrontation' with President George Bush by the Congress to end the Iraq War. The plan calls for action from both Houses of Congress and the American people.

"The Constitution grants the Congress the power to declare war and implicitly to end war. The Democrats in the House have the numbers to pass legislation to end the war. They don’t need another week of debates, the subject has been amply covered," Gravel said.

“Once the Republicans filibuster in the Senate, it will be clear to the American people and the media that the Republicans are continuing the war. This will be enhanced if Leader Reid brings up the House bill for a cloture vote each day until cloture is invoked. In the interim he can lay aside the bill so the Senate can do other business. This is the same tactic that Senate Leader Mike Mansfield used to permit me to filibuster the military draft, forcing its expiration, back in 1971. I predict that after weeks of national attention, ten Republicans will wither and the bill will pass."

“After passage by both Houses of Congress, the bill is sent to the President, who can either accept the bill and end the war in an orderly manner, or he can veto it. My guess is he will veto it, since he places greater value on God’s direct messages to him than on any message from the Congress or from the American people. In the event of a veto, the bill ending the war goes back to the Congress and can only become law with a two-thirds vote of the House and the Senate."

Gravel called the Democratic leadership’s tactic of passing a non-binding resolution “meaningless.”
“It would be unconstitutional for the House to pass a binding resolution to stop the surge, as would be the next tactic the Democratic leadership is contemplating––the Murtha plan.The President is the Commander-in-Chief whose responsibility under the Constitution is to prosecute military actions. For the Democrats in the Congress to unconstitutionally micromanage the war only plays into the hands of Republicans, who can now raise reasonable constitutional arguments and obfuscate direct action with procedural votes rather than let the Congress end the war now."

“In the recent vote on the toothless non-binding resolution, the Republican House leadership was surprised that they lost only 17 of their colleagues when they expected to lose more than 50. Unfortunately, the tactics of the House Democrats gave the Republicans political cover. Those 50 Republican votes would be sufficient to override a veto in the House."

“However, with specific legislation to end the war–– clear to all––there is no possible cover. A vote to override a veto would be an unambiguous vote to end the war. The eyes of the nation would be riveted on that vote. There would be no place to hide from the judgment of the people in 2008."

“I predict, if the vote is properly handled, the Congress will override President Bush’s veto. If not, there will be considerably fewer Republicans in the next Congress. With the veto overridden, President Bush will have to end his war for oil or be impeached. The American people would demand it. Any tactic that is less than crystal clear about ending the war is politics as usual in Washington.”

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Gravel For President 2008
Alex Colvin
Press Secretary