Posted by 09 January 2020
President Trump thinks that he has the authority to attack Iran without congressional approval. Some key members of the House and Senate disagree.
In the Senate, Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky blasted the Trump Administration after receiving a briefing on the drone strike that killed an Iranian general. The Trump Administration contends that the use of force resolution for the Iraq passed by Congress in 2003 covered his strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Both Sen. Lee and Sen. Paul said this was absurd and that hostilities with Iran require new congressional approval.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi agrees. She has introduced a use of force resolution that the House will vote on today. The premise of this resolution is that only Congress has the authority to legitimize military action against Iran.
The debate about which branch controls the war-making power is an old one. The Constitution says the president is commander-in-chief. Presidents argue that this gives them sole authority to direct the military. The Constitution also says that Congress must declare war. Members of Congress argue that the president can only use his power as commander-in-chief after congress has made such a declaration.
The House will likely pass its use of force resolution, but the Senate is unlikely to consider it. Many Senate Republicans are fine with what President Trump is doing in relation to Iran. Sen. Lindsay Graham went so far as to say that senators such as Sens. Lee and Paul who question the president’s actions are empowering the enemy.
Do you think that President Trump should seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran?