U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Tim Kaine have introduced a War Powers Resolution in an attempt to force a debate and vote in Congress to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran, Schatz said.
“Congress, not the president, has the constitutional authority to declare war, and I oppose a war with Iran,” Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Monday in a release. “No one mourns the death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a ruthless terrorist responsible for the deaths of thousands, including hundreds of Americans.”
But Trump’s decision to have him killed him near Baghdad airport “carries serious strategic consequences for which he was unprepared, including the unraveling of our relationship with Iraq, undermining our ability to prevent ISIS’s return, and putting U.S. diplomats and service members in Iraq and the region in danger,” Schatz said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday said she was concerned that the administration decision to order a “provocative and disproportionate” airstrike that killed the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force was made without consultation with Congress and “without respect for Congress’ war powers granted to it by the Constitution.”
Pelosi said the House this week will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the president’s military actions regarding Iran similar to the measure introduced in the Senate.
“It reasserts Congress’ long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further congressional action is taken, the administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days,” Pelosi said in a release.
The Senate resolution says U.S. armed forces have been introduced into hostilities against Iran.
“Every member of Congress should vote, and then be accountable for, the question of whether another war in the Middle East is a good idea,” Kaine, D-Va., said.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted that he would oppose any War Powers Resolution pushed by Pelosi “so as to allow this president to have the latitude he needs as commander in chief. The last thing America needs is 535 commanders in chief. America elected one.”
“President Trump is right to demand this regime change its behavior,” he also said. “The Democratic Party’s pathetic response to the killing of Soleimani only emboldens our enemies.”
Administration legal arguments made for the use of force have repeatedly diluted congressional oversight over the actions of commanders in chief.
Enacted in 1973, the War Powers Resolution says that presidential powers to engage U.S. troops in war are confined to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization or “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”
Notice of the cause for using troops in hostilities has to be given to the Speaker of the House within 48 hours, and within 60 days a president must terminate the use of armed forces unless Congress has declared war or enacted a specific authorization.
Exemptions from the War Powers Resolution were claimed by President Bill Clinton during the 1993 Somalia mission and by President Barack Obama in the 2011 NATO air war in Libya, The New York Times said.