A bilateral group of senators on Wednesday called for the abolition of the president’s military power granted by Congress in 1991 and 2002, which would revoke the permit for military force in the Middle East as tensions rise between the United States and Iran.
Senators Tim Kaine, D-Va., And Todd Young, R-Ind., Introduced legislation that would formally end congressional appropriations created during the Gulf and Iraq wars to reaffirm Congress’ role in initiating and ending wars.
The move comes after lawmakers became frustrated with President Biden’s unilateral call for air strikes in Syria last week against Iran – backed militant forces that had launched attacks on US targets in Iraq.
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The legislation was also introduced just hours after a military base housing US-led coalition troops was targeted at Iraq.
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its military,” Kaine said in a statement on Wednesday. “Congress has a responsibility not only to vote to approve new military action, but to revoke old permits that are no longer needed.”
Democrats and Republicans have called for an end to the United States’ “eternal wars” and are trying to recall the president’s ability to continue the military force in Iraq – though that will not necessarily limit Biden’s ability to use military action in other Middle Eastern nations.
The House and Senate passed a similar measure from Kaine last year aimed at limiting President Trump’s authority to launch military operations against Iran – although the legislation was vetoed.
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“Congress has been working on autopilot when it comes to our essential duties to approve the use of military force,” Young said. “The fact that the authorities for both of these wars are still lawful today illustrates the two-sided inability of Congress to carry out its constitutional mandate supervisory role.”
Senators across the aisle signed in support of the Kaine-Young bill, including sens.Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Chris Coons, D-Del., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Dick Durbin , D-Ill., And Rand Paul, R-Ky.
A Pentagon spokesman called Wednesday’s attacks “disturbing” and is adamant about the Biden administration’s decision to launch “defensive” attacks last week.
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“The president, as commander-in-chief, has a fundamental responsibility to act in defense self-defense for our troops and our assets abroad, nothing will change about that,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.