The House Armed Services Committee will next week bring up a bipartisan resolution condemning President Obama’s release of five Taliban leaders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Obama didn’t notify Congress before the early June swap, which brought to an end five years of captivity for Bergdahl. The administration claims they had to make an emergency decision because of concerns about Bergdahl’s health.
Bergdahl has completed his reintegration process and is now back on active duty in Texas while the Pentagon investigates the circumstances surrounding his capture.
On Tuesday, the committee will consider a bill from Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), along with Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), to condemn the commander in chief.
The bill has a total of 82 co-sponsors. It:
(1) condemns and disapproves of the failure of the Obama administration to comply with the lawful 30-day statutory reporting requirement in executing the release of five senior members of the Taliban from detention at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;
(2) expresses grave concern over national security implications that may arise due to the release of Taliban officials, including the national security threat to the people and Armed Forces of the United States and complications of the current efforts of the United States to combat terrorism worldwide;
(3) expresses grave concern over the repercussions of negotiating with terrorists, and the risk that such negotiations with terrorists may further encourage hostilities and the abduction of Americans as a means of further prisoner exchanges;
(4) stipulates that further violations of the law set forth in section 1035 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Public Law 113-66; 10 U.S.C. 801 note) and section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law 113-76) are unacceptable;
(5) declares grave misgivings about the prospect of any other similar transfers from United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even if undertaken pursuant to statutory requirements; and
(6) expresses that the Obama administration’s release of the five detainees has burdened unnecessarily the trust and confidence in the administration’s commitment and ability to constructively engage and work with the legislative branch, and therefore works against what is in the best interest of the people of the United States.
Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who noted after the transfer that administration officials were giving contradictory information to lawmakers, stressed that “when the president takes his oath of office, he is duty bound to follow the laws set by the American people.”
“Here, his office broke a law that was originally adopted by his own party in the Senate, passed by a large bipartisan majority in Congress and signed by the president himself. Just as the president must do his duty, so must Congress,” McKeon said. “Congressman Rigell’s legislation sends the clear message that following the law isn’t optional.”
“President Obama’s actions in regard to the prisoner exchange ignore the law and put our national security at risk. America is not a monarchy and no president is king,” said Rigell, who has previously noted the president’s imperialist tendencies in an amendment last summer chiding Obama to abide the War Powers Resolution. “The House is prepared to remind the president of this. This bipartisan resolution is an official repudiation of President Obama’s actions, and I appreciate the chairman’s leadership in bringing this important resolution to the committee for a markup.”