An unlikely alliance of Democratic and Republican senators enacted legislation Tuesday that would reaffirm the military in Congress and establish new controls on the president’s ability to take military action without the approval of lawmakers.
Introduced by sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Would the bill require the president to obtain permission from Congress before various actions, including the use of military force, arms exports, and the use of emergency powers. The permits had to comply with certain guidelines, such as a “sunset date”, in order to be adopted.
“Before it is too late, Congress needs to regain its legitimate role as an equal branch of war and national security,” Murphy said in a statement. “The bipartisan national security law will ensure that there is a full, open and public debate on all major national security decisions, such as warfare, arms sales and emergency declarations.”
Under the law, any presidential military action taken without congressional approval will be subject to an automatic termination of funding after a limited period. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass, will present a similar bill in Parliament.
HOUSE VOTES FOR WITHDRAWAL 1957, 1991 WAR PERMISSIONS
Lee said the legislation was necessary because former presidents of both parties had violated the privilege of Congress to decide when and how we go to war. “
“Now America’s global status, taxes and brave service members are being lost in conflicts that people’s legislators have never debated,” Lee said. “In areas where the Constitution gives Congress great powers, Congress is ignored.
“The National Security Powers Act will change that and return these checks and balances to our government.”
Sanders said he hoped the legislation “would lead to a larger discussion, both in Congress and among the public, about the use of military force in our foreign policy.
“I think we have become far too comfortable with the United States engaging in military intervention around the world, and it is too long a time for Congress to repeat its constitutional role in matters of war and peace,” Sanders added.
The legislation was introduced in the midst of a broad bipartisan push in both houses of Congress to get a handle on the president’s wartime. The investigation was intensified following President Biden’s recent decision to launch airstrikes on Iranian – linked militia groups near the Iraq – Syria border.
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Last month, House lawmakers voted to revoke the 1991 permit for the use of military force, first enacted prior to the Gulf War, and a 1957 provision allowing the use of force in defense of Middle Eastern nations from “any country controlled by international communism.” ”
In a separate act, Parliament voted to repeal a 2002 permit issued before the Second Iraq War, although that measure drew some withdrawal from Republicans.