Senate committee AUTHORIZES military action in Syria – but won’t hear Rand Paul amendment saying the Constitution forbids Obama from striking without Congress
A Senate committee today approved a resolution that authorizes military strikes on Syria meaning that it will be now put to the full chamber.
The resolution, authored by New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, passed by a 10-7 vote. Two Democrats voted ‘no’, a third voted ‘present’ and five Republicans voted against it, including Rand Paul.
Firebrand Paul had earlier attempted to introduce an amendment declaring President Obama would be violating the U.S. Constitution if he were to attack Syrian targets without clear authorization from Congress.
But Menendez refused to offer the Kentucky GOP Senator’s proposal for a vote – which used Obama’s own words against him.
‘You shouldn’t get it both ways’ as the U.S. commander-in-chief, said Paul. ‘You shouldn’t be allowed to say “I’m going to abide by the authority of the Congress when I win, but when I lose I’m not.”‘
‘This is a great issue in a perfect time to talk about it.’
During his first run for the White House, Obama told the Boston Globe that ‘the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’
That December 20, 2007 statement attracted new attention after Obama made the unusual move Saturday of asking for Congress’ approval before he attacked Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
PAUL’S WAR POWERS AMENDMENT
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul could still filibuster the final Senate use-of-force resolution on Syria. But his amendment language, below, won’t make it into the final version.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Senator Barack Obama stated correctly to the Boston Globe in 2007 that ‘the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’
(2) Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution of the United States provides Congress, not the President, the power to issue a declaration of war.
It is the sense of Congress that if this authorization fails to pass Congress, the President would be in violation of the Constitution if he were to use military force against the Government of Syria.