On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would strip President Joe Biden of war powers. If passed, the bill would repealing the 1991 authorizations for the use of military force in Iraq and the 2002 AUMF passed in the wake of 9/11.
This move is led by Republican Senator Todd Young and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine.
This effort comes after Biden’s recent order for the U.S. to launch airstrikes on Syria without Congressional approval.
The Biden administration’s decision to launch the attack followed the shelling of an Iraqi military base that houses U.S. troops.
Kaine, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday in a statement obtained by Politico, “Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers.”
“Congress has a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary,” Kaine added.
Senators sponsoring the AUMF repeal —— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) March 3, 2021
Sen. Young: Congress Must ‘Perform Its Constitutionally-Mandated Oversight Role’
Sen. Young said to Politico, “Congress has been operating on autopilot when it comes to our essential duties to authorize the use of military force.”
“The fact that authorities for both of these wars are still law today is illustrative of the bipartisan failure of Congress to perform its constitutionally-mandated oversight role,” the Republican added.
The bill’s co-sponsors include Democratic Sens. Chris Coons and Tammy Duckworth along with Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul.
Kaine has expressed his frustration with Biden not seeking congressional approval previously.
Kaine said, “The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress.”
“Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously,” Kaine added.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of American military responses, “We will respond in a way that’s calculated, on our timetable and using a mix of tools seen and unseen.”
“What we will not do — and what we’ve seen in the past — is lash out and risk an escalation that plays into the hands of Iran by further destabilizing Iraq,” she added.
Psaki – and current VP Kamala Harris – came under criticism for past comments they made about President Trump ordering strikes in Syria.
In 2017, Psaki demanded to know the legal rationale for strikes:
Harris sounded a similar note in 2018: