Wednesday, January 10, 2007
But Congress does have the authority to use “several different policy levers to guide U.S. national security policy as it relates to the deployment of American troops.” Congress has done so many times over the last 35 years.
In November 1993, McConnell supported a move by Congress to place limits on military spending for U.S. troop deployments in Somalia. Section 8151 of Public Law 103-139 “limited the use of funding in Somalia for operations of U.S. military personnel only until March 31, 1994″ and permitted “expenditure of funds for the mission thereafter only if the president sought and Congress provided specific authorization.”
The language passed the Senate as an amendment introduced by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). McConnell voted for it. He also spoke on the Senate floor about the legislation:
The narrow issue before us tonight is simply how do you leave? We are leaving, we all agree on that. … The only issue here tonight is how we leave and, in my judgment, the Byrd amendment better defines the proper exit for the United States in this most unfortunate experience in Somalia, at least since May. [Congressional Record, S13447, 10/14/93]
It’s one thing for McConnell to support Bush’s escalation plan. It’s another to mislead about what Congress can do to stop it.