Text: H.R.4140 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (10/26/2017)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 4140 Introduced in House (IH)]


  1st Session
                                H. R. 4140

 To prohibit the introduction of the Armed Forces into hostilities in 
    North Korea without a declaration of war or explicit statutory 
                 authorization, and for other purposes.



                            October 26, 2017

Mr. Conyers (for himself, Mr. Massie, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Jones, Mr. Pocan, 
  Mr. McGovern, Ms. Lee, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Ms. Norton, Mr. 
Doggett, Mr. Nolan, Mr. Welch, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Pallone, Ms. Slaughter, 
  Mr. Beyer, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. Hanabusa, Mr. Raskin, Ms. 
  Schakowsky, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Cohen, Ms. Jackson Lee, Ms. Moore, Mr. 
 Evans, Mr. Rush, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Ms. Gabbard, 
 Mr. Gutierrez, Ms. Pingree, Ms. Lofgren, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. 
    Cleaver, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Payne, Mrs. Watson 
    Coleman, Ms. Wilson of Florida, Mr. Capuano, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. 
Garamendi, Ms. Barragan, Ms. McCollum, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mrs. Beatty, Mr. 
   Lewis of Georgia, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Ms. Bonamici, Mrs. 
Napolitano, Ms. Judy Chu of California, Mr. Huffman, Ms. Velazquez, Mr. 
   DeFazio, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Serrano, Ms. Tsongas, Mr. Carbajal, Ms. 
Maxine Waters of California, Ms. Eshoo, and Ms. DeLauro) introduced the 
following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, 
and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 


                                 A BILL

 To prohibit the introduction of the Armed Forces into hostilities in 
    North Korea without a declaration of war or explicit statutory 
                 authorization, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``No Unconstitutional Strike against 
North Korea Act''.


    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The President is currently prohibited from initiating a 
        war or launching a first strike without congressional approval 
        under the Constitution and Federal law.
            (2) The Constitution, in article I, section 8, grants 
        Congress the sole power to declare war.
            (3) George Washington wrote that ``The constitution vests 
        the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive 
        expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they 
        shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a 
        measure'' (Letter from George Washington to William Moultrie, 
        August 28, 1793).
            (4) Alexander Hamilton wrote that ```The Congress shall 
        have the power to declare war'; the plain meaning of which is, 
        that it is the peculiar and exclusive duty of Congress, when 
        the nation is at peace, to change that state into a state of 
        war'' (Hamilton Papers, Examination Number I, December 17, 
            (5) James Madison wrote that ``The power to declare war, 
        including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and 
        exclusively vested in the legislature . . . the executive has 
        no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is 
        or is not cause for declaring war'' (Madison Papers, 
        ``Helvidius'', Number 4, September 14, 1793).
            (6) Section 2(c) of the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 
        93-148; 50 U.S.C. 1541) states that ``the constitutional powers 
        of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United 
        States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where 
        imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the 
        circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration 
        of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national 
        emergency created by attack upon the United States, its 
        territories or possessions, or its armed forces''.
            (7) The American people, America's allies in Asia, and the 
        entire world have been deeply troubled by escalating tensions 
        on the Korean peninsula.
            (8) Recent polling demonstrates that more than two-thirds 
        of the American people believe that the United States should 
        attack North Korea only if North Korea attacks first.
            (9) The United States has approximately 28,500 
        servicemembers stationed in South Korea, who would be placed in 
        grave danger if an active military conflict were to erupt.
            (10) On August 14, 2017, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs 
        of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford stated that ``the 
        United States military's priority is to support our 
        government's efforts to achieve the denuclearization of the 
        Korean Peninsula through diplomatic and economic pressure''.
            (11) On August 10, 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis 
        stated that armed conflict with North Korea ``would be 


    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) a conflict on the Korean peninsula would have 
        catastrophic consequences for--
                    (A) the American people;
                    (B) members of the United States Armed Forces 
                stationed in the region;
                    (C) United States interests;
                    (D) United States allies South Korea and Japan;
                    (E) the long-suffering people of North Korea; and
                    (F) global peace and security more broadly;
            (2) actions and statements that increase tensions and could 
        lead to miscalculation should be avoided; and
            (3) the President, in coordination with United States 
        allies, should explore and pursue every feasible opportunity 
                    (A) engage in talks with North Korea on concrete 
                steps to reduce tensions and improve communication;
                    (B) initiate negotiations designed to achieve a 
                diplomatic agreement to halt and eventually reverse 
                North Korea's nuclear and missile pursuits; and
                    (C) move toward denuclearization and a permanent 
                peace in the Korean peninsula.


    (a) In General.--None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made 
available to the Department of Defense or to any other Federal 
department or agency may be used to launch a military strike against 
North Korea or otherwise introduce the Armed Forces into hostilities in 
North Korea before the earlier of--
            (1) the date on which Congress declares war on North Korea; 
            (2) the date of the enactment of an authorization described 
        in subsection (b).
    (b) Authorization of Military Strikes.--An authorization described 
in this subsection is an authorization that meets the requirements of 
the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.) and that is enacted 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (c) Exceptions.--The prohibition under subsection (a) shall not 
apply with respect to the introduction of the Armed Forces into 
            (1) to repel a sudden attack on the United States, its 
        territories or possessions, or its Armed Forces, or its allies; 
            (2) to rescue or remove United States personnel.
    (d) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section may be construed 
to affect or alter the requirements of the War Powers Resolution (50 
U.S.C. 1541 et seq.) or to relieve the executive branch of the 
restrictions or reporting requirements therein.

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