Lawmakers Prepare Resolution Against Obama Over Bergdahl Swap

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 01:34 PM

By Andrea Billups

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A deal is near from both sides of the political aisle on a resolution directed at President Barack Obama's deal to release Taliban prisoners housed at Guantanamo in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Berghdahl.

"We thought it was important to put this legal marker in the ground and repudiate what the president did," Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia said in an interview with Fox News.

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"It's not good for national security," Rigell added, speaking alongside his Democrat colleague, U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Georgia, who supports the resolution. "The president is consistently going outside his constitutional lane and ignoring the law."

Current policy requires the president to give Congress a 30-day notice before releasing any prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, The Washington Times noted of the swap.

Obama completely neglected that, acting arbitrarily in exchanging five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, who had gone missing from his unit in on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.

"Both Scott and I were concerned and objected to the violation of our longstanding policy to not negotiate with terrorists," Barrow added. "Both branches in this case agreed on the process to be followed — prior consultation."

Obama has not been apologetic for his actions, even as he did not follow the law, the Los Angeles Times reported, noting that the White House defended that the president has authority to act without seeking Congress' approval.

"You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land who they hadn't seen in five years and weren't sure whether they'd ever see again," Obama said during a speech in Brussels in June.

"I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child," he added.

As anger grows among lawmakers that the president continues to act independently without their involvement, Rigell spoke out forcefully against his actions.

"This is a serious matter," Rigell told Fox News, noting rare unity in calling the president out formally.

"It's a bipartisan effort," he said. "We've got to stop what the president is doing."

The House Armed Services Committee was expected to mark up the resolution against the president on Tuesday, according to the National Journal.

It will outline Obama's conduct, in direct conflict with a section of the Defense Authorization Act of 2014, which includes a failure to give Congress notice about such a transfer.

"When the president takes his oath of office, he is duty bound to follow the laws set by the American people," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon said last week in a statement reported by National Journal. "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."

Added McKeon, "Just as the president must do his duty, so must Congress. Congressman Rigell's legislation sends the clear message that following the law isn't optional."

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