IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 14, 2012
Mr. Webb (for himself and Mr. Lee) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
To provide that the President must seek congressional approval before engaging members of the United States Armed Forces in military humanitarian operations.
This Act may be cited as
Military Humanitarian Operations
Act of 2012.
Military humanitarian operation defined
In this Act, the term military humanitarian operation means a military operation involving the deployment of members or weapons systems of the United States Armed Forces where hostile activities are reasonably anticipated and with the aim of preventing or responding to a humanitarian catastrophe, including its regional consequences, or addressing a threat posed to international peace and security. The term includes—
operations undertaken pursuant to the principle of the “responsibility to protect” as referenced in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1674 (2006);
operations specifically authorized by the United Nations Security Council, or other international organizations; and
unilateral deployments and deployments made in coordination with international organizations, treaty-based organizations, or coalitions formed to address specific humanitarian catastrophes.
Operations not included
The term military humanitarian operation does not mean a military operation undertaken for the following purposes:
Responding to or repelling attacks, or preventing imminent attacks, on the United States or any of its territorial possessions, embassies, or consulates, or members of the United States Armed Forces.
Direct acts of reprisal for attacks on the United States or any of its territorial possessions, embassies, or consulates, or members of the United States Armed Forces.
Invoking the inherent right to individual or collective self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Military missions to protect or rescue United States citizens or military or diplomatic personnel abroad.
Carrying out treaty commitments to directly aid allies in distress.
Humanitarian missions in response to natural disasters where no civil unrest or combat with hostile forces is reasonably anticipated, and where such operation is for a limited duration.
Actions to maintain maritime freedom of navigation, including actions aimed at combating piracy.
Training exercises conducted by the United States Armed Forces abroad where no combat with hostile forces is reasonably anticipated.
Requirement for congressional authorization
The President may not deploy members of the United States Armed Forces into the territory, airspace, or waters of a foreign country for a military humanitarian operation not previously authorized by statute unless—
the President submits to Congress a formal request for authorization to use members of the Armed Forces for the military humanitarian operation; and
Congress enacts a specific authorization for such use of forces.
Joint resolution of approval
Introduction and placement on calendar
If the President submits a formal request under subsection (a)(1) for authorization to use members of the Armed Forces for a military humanitarian operation, then within 1 calendar day of such request, the majority leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall introduce an identical joint resolution in the Senate and the House of Representatives calling for consideration of the military humanitarian operation and shall place such resolution directly on the calendar of the respective House.
It shall be in order for any Member of the respective House to move to proceed to the consideration of a resolution introduced under paragraph (1), and all points of order against the resolution (and against consideration of the resolution) are waived. The motion is highly privileged in the House of Representatives and is privileged in the Senate and is not debatable. The motion is not subject to amendment, to a motion to postpone, or to a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the resolution is agreed to, the resolution shall remain the unfinished business of the respective House until disposed of.
Debate on the resolution, and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 4 hours, which shall be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the resolution. A motion further to limit debate is in order and not debatable. An amendment to, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the resolution is not in order. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the resolution is agreed to or disagreed to is not in order.
Vote on final passage
Immediately following the conclusion of the debate on the resolution, and a single quorum call at the conclusion of the debate if requested in accordance with the rules of the appropriate House, the vote on final passage of the resolution shall occur. The vote shall occur not later than 48 hours after submission of a formal request under subsection (a)(1), unless the President waives such deadline, in which case the vote in each House shall occur on the next calendar day each respective House is in session.
Rulings of the chair on procedure
Appeals from the decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to a resolution described in paragraph (1) shall be decided without debate.
Coordination with action by other House
If, before the passage by one House of a resolution of that House described in paragraph (1), that House receives from the other House a resolution described in paragraph (1)—
the resolution of the other House shall not be referred to a committee; and
with respect to the resolution of the House receiving the resolution, the procedure in the receiving House shall be the same as if no joint resolution had been received from the other House until the vote on final passage, when the joint resolution received from the other House shall supplant the joint resolution of the receiving House.
Rules of House of Representatives and Senate
This subsection is enacted by Congress—
as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, and as such it is deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of a resolution described in paragraph (1), and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and
with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.
If any provision of this Act is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of the Act shall not be affected.