The congressman who first challenged John Boehner as Speaker of the House is now spearheading an effort to censure President Obama over his handling of national security.
Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., says it’s time for Congress to hold Obama accountable for acts that repeatedly weaken our security and embolden our enemies. He officially filed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ve entered this resolution of censure and condemning his lack of energy and strategy strictly on national security. This is going to be a significant thing because at the very end it says Congress will act if the president doesn’t change course,” said Yoho.
The resolution is just four pages. In addition to making general accusations, including Obama contributing to global instability and failing to enforce laws and honor his constitutional oath, several items get more specific.
“Whereas President Obama has willfully failed to follow the counsel and expert advice provided by United States military and intelligence advisors by prematurely with-drawing troops from Iraq, thus leading to further destabilization of the Middle East and increased threats to national and global security,” reads one charge.
“Whereas the dereliction of duty and miscalculations of President Barack Obama have allowed the combined terrorist organizations of the world to control more land, and increase membership, armament, and resources more than during any other time in history,” states another in reference to ISIS and the Taliban.
“Whereas President Barack Obama has failed to instruct the Department of Justice to take action to end the practices of certain State and local governments that refuse to abide by standing immigration laws,” adds another in light of Obama defending the concept of sanctuary cities..
The resolution also condemns Obama for failing to halt the Iran nuclear deal after Iran violated the terms through multiple ballistic missile tests and for lacking any discernible strategy in Libya. It culminates by asking lawmakers to formally rebuke Obama for his failure to act in the best interests of national security.
“Resolved, That the House of Representatives (1) does hereby censure and condemn President Barack Obama for having willfully disregarded the President’s constitutional responsibilities as Commander in Chief of the United States through his continued failed lack of foreign affairs strategy, failure to follow the advice of military and intelligence advisors, and failed national security policy; and (2) does hereby put President Barack Obama on notice and strongly urges the President to reverse course and begin fulfilling his constitutional responsibilities,” concludes the resolution.
The allegations contained in the censure resolution paint a very different picture from the one Obama offered Tuesday in his final State of the Union message. In discussing ISIS, Obama urged everyone to take the long view.
“They have to be stopped but they do not threaten our national existence. That is the story ISIL wants to tell. That’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious. And sure don’t need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is somehow representative of one of the world’s largest religions,” said Obama Tuesday.
Yoho says Obama offered nothing new.
“He’s been saying that since the beginning. It’s his failed policies in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he announced troop withdrawals and he pulled out with a date. That has led to the creation of ISIS. They didn’t pay attention to them. They allowed for a foothold to get started,” said Yoho.
He says the results of Obama’s weakness are obvious.
“Today, under this president and this administration, the Taliban controls more land mass than they’ve ever controlled in history. Number two, ISIS came out of our dropping the ball, not paying attention to the insurgency that was arising,” said Yoho.
Yoho says Obama has misplayed ISIS every step of the way, from dismissing it as the “jayvee team” to running a handful of sorties against the terrorists for months while they established their foothold and gained land and resources in Iraq and Syria.
“It was his miscalculations, his missteps and his lack of a strategy that has allowed ISIS to become the terrorists with the largest, most well organized, most well armed and the largest membership in the world,” said Yoho.
In first announcing U.S. policy against ISIS in September 2014, Obama cited Yemen and Somalia as examples of how the U.S. can influence major results with a light military footprint. Yoho says Yemen is now another depressing example of Obama’s foreign policy.
“Yemen is a perfect example of our intervention. Yemen is a disaster. He can tout some of the things he wants to about his accomplishments, but the one thing he can’t talk about are his accomplishments in foreign affairs and it’s made not just our country but the Middle East and the world less safe,” said Yoho.
While Yoho and others, including several GOP presidential candidates, urge a tougher ISIS policy from the military and through diplomacy and public statements, Obama insisted Tuesday he’s on the right course.
“Fortunately there is a smarter approach, a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. It says America will always act, alone if necessary, to protect our people and our allies. but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us and make sure other countries pull their own weight,” said Obama in his address.
Yoho pulled no punches in response.
“I think it’s BS. He doesn’t have a strategy,” said Yoho, who says military leaders he’s spoken with reach the same conclusion.
“I’ve sat with these guys. I sit on foreign affairs. There is no strategy to defeat ISIS.” he added. “He can say all those things like, ‘Oh, we have a smarter strategy. We built a coalition.’ We had no coalition. So what he’s talking about is pure, simple sophistry, concocting a story to make it sound good but underneath it’s a lie.”
The congressman says proof of Obama’s toothless approach includes dropping leaflets to let ISIS convoy drivers know we will drop bombs soon, clearing out the Guantanamo Bay detention center as quickly as possible and showing common cause with cities that refuse to hold criminal aliens so the federal government can deport them..
Yoho says the censure resolution is a warning to Obama that he needs to reverse course because Congress has only one more penalty to pursue but he insists impeachment is not something he wants to pursue now.
For now, Yoho says he needs the public to rally behind the censure resolution. It needs a simple majority to pass the House and would likely have to meet a 60-vote threshold in the Senate. He is asking citizens to apply pressure to every member to get on board.
“Members have a decision to make. They either get on this, condemning the president’s lack of a foreign policy that’s jeopardized not only us here domestically but around the world. Your constituents are going to put pressure on their members of Congress, whether House or Senate, to support this resolution,” said Yoho.
“If not, they say they agree with the president’s action and they think he’s doing a fine job. We all know that’s not true,” he said.