On January 21, 2010 the House of Representatives took time out of it schedule to vote on House Resolution 1021 which expressed condolences to the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake which may have killed up to 100,000 people.
The vote on this non-binding resolution expressing solidarity with the citizens of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere after experiencing a disaster of historic proportions was 411 to 1.
Yes, you saw that vote tally correctly. One member of Congress voted no. One member of Congress rose in opposition to the expression of condolences to the people of Haiti.
That member of Congress is Republican Ron Paul who represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas.
What type of person votes “nay” on a resolution offering condolences? Before we answer that question, let’s let the Congressman defend himself.
Congressman Paul offered his reasoning for being the lone dissenter of HRES 1021. In his text, he writes that the cannot support a resolution that “commits the US government “to begin the reconstruction of Haiti” ”
Actually, the text of the resolution states, in part:
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–…
(9) urges the President–…
(B) to provide, when the emergency subsides, assistance in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with other donors to begin the reconstruction of Haiti; (bold and emphasis mine)
Notice that Mr. Paul takes the five words I have bolded and italicized and uses them as part of his rationale for opposing the resolution. However, he has taken them out of context by omitting the previous terms of “urges the President” and “in coordination with other donors”. HRES 1021 does not commit the US government to do anything. This resolution only urges the President to provide assistance in coordination with other donors. There is no committing, only urging.
In fact, HRES 1021 does not commit the US government to do anything because, as a House Resolution, it is a non-binding piece of text. A House Resolution only expresses the sense of the House of Representatives.
In the 111st Congress, the House has passed a variety of resolutions including:
–noting that North Korea should immediately stop any hostile rhetoric and activity towards the Republic of Korea and engage in mutual dialogue to enhance inter-Korean relations (HRES 309)
— encouraging people across the United States to support programs to assist those in need of adult education and family literacy programs (HRES 707)
–supporting the goals and ideals of National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month (HRES 831)
–congratulating the North Central College Cardinals’ men’s cross country team for winning the NCAA Division III National Championship (HRES 1001)
These resolutions do not commit the US government to do anything. None of the resolutions above committed the policy of the United States to be altered in any way in regards to North Korea, literacy programs, adoption, or collegiate cross country.
Mr. Paul’s declaration that a House Resolution commits the US government to anything is either a gross misunderstanding of how Congress works or he is coming up with an excuse to cover his real beliefs, whatever they are. Since Ron Paul has been in Washington representing the 14th District since 1997, I think I can safely say he understands how Congress works.
Interestingly enough, the House also passed a resolution, HRES 810, that supported the President’s offer of assistance to Indonesia in response to the September 30, 2009 earthquake that killed 700 people, but Mr. Paul did not dissent as the resolution passed on a voice vote.
Interestingly enough, the House also passed a resolution, HRES 560, that expressed its support for Iranian citizens who embrace freedom and Mr. Paul was the lone vote saying “no” to that resolution.
What type of person votes “nay” on a resolution offering condolences to Haitians, but does not dissent when the condolences are offered to Indonesians? What type of person votes “nay” on a resolution supporting freedom-loving people?
The same type pf person who (and here comes our number for the day) sponsors a bill, HR 3021 that would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, which bans firearms in schools.
I wonder if Mr. Paul is imparting those values on his son, Rand.