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Introduced Version - Originating in Committee House Concurrent Resolution 141 History

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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 141

(By Delegates Hardy, Wilson, Steele, Cooper, Sypolt,  Kump, Phillips, and Bibby)

[Originating in the House Committee on the Judiciary on February 28, 2020]

 

Urging the President and Congress of the United States of America take no action to employ military forces of the United States in active duty combat unless the United States Congress has passed an official declaration of war or has taken an official action or renewed action to authorize the use of military force and/or to call forth the state militias for a term no longer than two years, to explicitly execute a coherent and effectively resourced national security strategy.

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:

Whereas, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States vests in the United States Congress the exclusive power to declare war, to raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years, and to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; and

Whereas, In spite of the clear language of the United States Constitution, vesting the power over war exclusively in the United States Congress, the United States Executive Branch has unconstitutionally assumed that power while the United States Congress has abdicated its constitutional duty; and

Whereas, Although the United States Congress has not declared war in over 70 years, the nation has since gone to war repeatedly at the direction of the Executive Branch and/or acted under perpetual authorizations to use military force passed by Congress empowering the

Executive Branch to engage in unending war – clearly not what the Founding Fathers intended in the Constitution; and

Whereas, When such unconstitutional actions are taken by the federal government, it is the proper role of the states themselves to take action to remedy such situations, as outlined in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798; and

Whereas, A founder of this country, George Washington, once wrote: “The Constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore, no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure”; and

Whereas, The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, once wrote: “The Constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it.  It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the Legislature”; and

Whereas, The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, once wrote: “We have already given in example one effectual check to the dog of war by transferring the power of letting him loose from the Executive to the Legislative body. . .” and “Considering that Congress alone is constitutionally invested with the power of changing our condition from peace to war, I have thought it my duty to await their authority for using force in any degree which could be avoided”; and

Whereas, Another Constitutional framer, Alexander Hamilton, once wrote: “‘The Congress shall have the power to declare war’; the plain meaning of which is, that it is the peculiar and exclusive duty of Congress, when the nation is at peace, to change that state into a state of war. . .”; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia

That the President and Congress of the United States of America are hereby urged to take no action to employ military forces of the United States in active duty combat unless and until the United States Congress has passed an official declaration of war or has taken an official action or renewed action to authorize the use of military force and/or to call forth the state militias for a term no longer than two years, to explicitly execute a coherent and effectively resourced national security strategy; save in instances when our forces must respond to attack; and be it

Further resolved,

That the State of West Virginia seeks to end any periods of endless or perpetual armed conflict with no clear conditions of conclusion that risks the lives of our military members; and be it

    Further resolved,

That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a copy of this resolution to the President of the United States, to the President of the United States Senate and to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of West Virginia’s congressional delegation, with the request that this resolution be officially entered into the Congressional Record.

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