Paul wanted to put war powers back where it belongs…the Senate.
The U.S. Senate has voted to table Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) amendment to repeal the 2001 and 2002 war authorizations that have allowed the U.S. military “to fight terrorism across the globe” in everlasting wars.
Paul wanted Congress to “reassert its authority to declare war from the Executive Branch.” Paul and others, including Democrats, have said that “the Senate is ceding its constitutional war powers” with these amendments.
The Motion to Table Paul Amend #871 (AUMF) was agreed to by a vote of 61-36.
— Senate Periodicals (@SenatePPG) September 13, 2017
Paul introduced his amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment repealed the Authorization for Use of Military Force and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. Both of these passed war powers to the president:
“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
Paul’s amendment would have gone into effect six months after the NDAA became law so the lawmakers could go home “to hear from the American people and thoroughly debate granting any new, specific authority.”
In his prepared remarks, Paul said:
I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared, and unconstitutional war. What we have today is basically unlimited war – war anywhere, anytime, any place on the globe. This vote will be to sunset, in 6 months, the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force.
No one with an ounce of intellectual honesty believes these authorizations allow current wars we fight in 7 countries.
Some of the more brazen advocates of war maintain the President can even fight war in perpetuity without any Congressional authority. These advocates of perpetual war argue that the Article II powers of the President give unlimited war-making powers to the President.
Madison disagrees. Madison wrote that the executive is the branch of government “most prone” to war; therefore, the Constitution, “with studied care,” vested the power to declare war with the legislature.
Paul managed to gather support from Democrats. From CNN:
Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who has joined forces with Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to draft a new war authorization, says he’s likely to back Paul’s amendment.
“I’m inclined to support it, because I think it will encourage the foreign relations committee to really grapple the Flake-Kaine AUMF,” Kaine told CNN.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) sided with Paul. The Washington Examiner reported:
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said lawmakers have the responsibility to debate because the 2001 authorization passed almost unanimously to fight the perpetrators of 9/11 in Afghanistan no longer applies to military operations 16 years later.
“Sen. Paul’s amendment gives us that opportunity by saying the ’01 and ’02 authorizations need to end,” Cardin said. “That we don’t today have clear authorization from Congress to pursue the military campaign against ISIS.”
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said it’s time to put such powers back in the hands of Congress.
“It is far too easy and convenient for this Congress to allow for an executive, whether it be a Republican or a Democrat executive, to define the parameters of war and to name new enemies that have not been before this body for debate,” he said.
Paul’s Republican colleagues agree with his sentiments, but think his amendment is the wrong way to do it. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) agreed we need a new AUMF, but not with Paul’s plan. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) wants the amendment to go through the Foreign Relations Committee.DONATE
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