A bipartisan group of senators has called for the revocation of presidential military powers granted by Congress in 1991 and 2002, which would revoke the authorization for military force in the Middle East as tensions between the United States and Iran grow.
Senators Tim Kane, D-Va. And Todd Young, R-Ind., Introduced legislation that would formally suspend congressional permits established during the Gulf and Iraq wars to reaffirm the role of Congress in entering and ending wars.
The move comes after lawmakers were disappointed by President Biden’s unilateral call for air strikes in Syria last week against Iran-backed forces that launched attacks on US targets in Iraq.
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The legislation was introduced just hours after a US-led military base was sent to Iraq.
“Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, independent of the party, will continue to expand its military forces,” Kane said in a statement on Wednesday. “Congress has a responsibility not only to vote to allow new military action, but also to repeal old permits that are no longer needed.”
Democrats and Republicans have called for an end to US “eternal wars” and are seeking to take away the president’s ability to continue military power in Iraq – although this would not necessarily limit Biden’s ability to use military action in other Middle Eastern countries.
The House and Senate passed a similar measure by Kane last year aimed at limiting President Trump’s power in launching military operations against Iran – although the law was vetoed.
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“Congress is operating on autopilot when it comes to our basic obligations to allow the use of military force,” Young said. “The fact that the authorities in both wars are still the law is an illustration of the bipartisan failure of Congress to fulfill its constitutionally mandated oversight role.”
Senators across the aisle have signed in support of the Kane-Young bill, including Sensor Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Chris Koons, D-Del., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., And Rand Paul, R-Ky.
A Pentagon spokesman called Wednesday’s attack “disturbing” and stuck with the Biden administration’s decision to launch “defensive” attacks last week.
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“The president, as commander-in-chief, has the primary responsibility to act in defense of our troops and our assets abroad, nothing will change,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.