Rand Paul – John Kerry Tense Exchange at Syria Hearing (FULL)

Rand Paul

Rand Paul Accuses Obama Of Reducing Congress’ Role In Syria To ‘Constitutional Theater’

Sec. Kerry to Sen. Rand Paul(R-KY) ” The President is not asking you to go to war, he’s not asking you to declare war.”

Paul to Kerry: ‘You’re Making a Joke of Us’

Rand Paul: Make me proud today, Secretary Kerry. Stand up for us and say you’re going to obey the Constitution, and if we vote you down, which is unlikely by the way, but if we do, you would go with what the people say through their Congress and you wouldn’t go forward with a war that your Congress votes against. Can you give me a better answer, Secretary Kerry?
Kerry: I can’t give you a different answer than the one I gave you. I don’t know what the president’s decision is, but I will tell you this. It ought to make you proud because he still has the constitutional authority, and he would be in keeping with the Constitution.
Rand Paul: Well, I disagree with you there. I don’t believe he has the constitutional authority. I think Congress has this. Madison was very explicit. When he wrote the Federalist Papers, he wrote that history supposes, or the Constitution supposes what history demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch most likely to go to war and therefore the Constitution vested that power in the Congress. It’s explicit and runs throughout all of Madison’s writings.

This power is a Congressional power and is not an Executive power. They didn’t say big war, small war. They didn’t say boots on the ground, not boots on the ground. They said declare war. Ask the people on the ships launching the missiles whether they’re involved with war or not. If we do not say the Constitution applies, if we do not say explicitly that we will abide by this vote, you’re making a joke of us. You’re making us into theater, and so we play constitutional theater for the president. If this is real, you will abide by the verdict of Congress.

You’re probably going to win. Just got ahead and say it’s real and let’s have a real debate in this country and not a meaningless debate that in the end you lose and say, ‘Oh well, we had the authority anyway, we’re going to go ahead and go to war anyway.’