“It’s not the king’s army.”
There has been a steady drift of constitutional interpretation in Washington, and that drift has gone in only one direction: elevating the authority of the Executive Branch, particularly with respect to the use of our military. This is of great concern to me, and I’m pleased that the House of Representatives recently passed my amendment that reaffirms Congress’ War Powers as outlined in the Constitution. The amendment requires the President of the United States to receive authorization from Congress before using military force.
During the military operation in Libya in 2011, the United States employed almost one thousand pieces of ordnance, including 221 Tomahawk cruise missiles and more than 700 Joint Direct Attack Munition “smart bombs.” I believe the President violated the War Powers Resolution by circumventing Congress out of that decision process. If that much military force doesn’t constitute a “hostile act” that should have been authorized by Congress, what does? This is not the king’s army. It is not constitutional for any one person, including America’s Commander-in-Chief, to have the unilateral authority to engage U.S. forces when there is no direct threat to the United States. Read the full amendment here.
Attorney General Holder Should Step Down
Last week, I renewed my call for President Obama to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. The Attorney General has not served President Obama, or the American people, well. He has acknowledged that “Fast and Furious” was a botched operation. He has admitted that his initial explanation to Congress of the failed operation was inaccurate. And now, the Attorney General’s involvement, both directly and indirectly, in the controversies involving government overreach are deeply troubling and have added to a rising level of distrust. If for no other reason than demonstrated inability to properly oversee the agencies for which he is responsible, he should resign. Absent his voluntary resignation, the President should replace him. Either way, it is time for him to go, and I joined many of my colleagues this week in recommending that course of action to President Obama. You can read the full text of the letter here.
Unless the Senate acts, student loan interest rates are scheduled to increase July 1. The House has passed a long-term, market-based solution that is fairer to students by fixing student loan interest rates to market rates thereby halting some loan rates from doubling. If the Senate passes the House legislation, half of borrowers will actually see their interest rates decrease in July. President Obama proposed a similar market-based solution in his budget, and I encourage the Senate to act now so that students and graduates are protected.
Finally, I am so pleased to report that the Virginia Jobs and Energy Act, which I introduced in the House of Representatives this spring, is garnering support from across our community! Most recently, the Virginia Beach branch of the NAACP (click here) and the Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (click here) offered their strong support of the legislation – and the 18,000 jobs it can create for our region! Passing the Virginia Jobs and Energy Act remains my number one legislative priority, and I will keep you updated on our progress in the days ahead.
Mindful that I work for you, I remain
Yours in Freedom,
Your Congressman in the News
Hardball with Chris Matthews
WAVY News: Rigell Calls for AG Holder's Resignation
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