President Joe Biden’s recent order of airstrikes on targets in Syria has sparked a bipartisan pushback from lawmakers who were not consulted ahead of time.
Now, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) have introduced a bill that would repeal authorizations of military force in the Middle East, which could have the result of reigning in the president’s war powers, as Breitbart reports.
Critics of those authorizations for Middle East military conflicts have long argued that they have been stretched far beyond their intended and legitimate scope.
Specifically, the bipartisan proposal targets the 1991 and 2002 authorizations of military force in Iraq, according to Reuters. It is also co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Lee (R-UT).
“The fact that authorities for both of these wars are still law today is illustrative of the bipartisan failure of Congress to perform its constitutionally-mandated oversight role,” Young said.
For its part, the Biden administration framed last week’s strike as a “defensive” move in retaliation for an attack in Iraq that killed a civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member. While Biden had some establishment support who lauded it as “carefully calibrated,” critics maintained that it was anything but.
In his statement, Kaine said: “Last week’s airstrikes in Syria show that the executive branch, regardless of party, will continue to stretch its war powers.”
“No longer necessary”
The Virginia senator went on to argue that lawmakers have “a responsibility to not only vote to authorize new military action, but to repeal old authorizations that are no longer necessary.”
Of course, some legislators on the other side of the aisle — including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — roared with approval even as a handful of Biden’s fellow Democrats spoke out against his military move.
“Our ability to engage in constitutional actions does not diminish when the party in power is ours,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) insisted.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also voiced his opposition, asserting that even though Biden “has a responsibility to defend the people of the United States,” the Constitution gives Congress “the authority to declare war.”
Even as Biden had still not briefed senators on the strike, the White House indicated on Wednesday that the administration might initiate a military response to an attack on an Iraqi base that left one U.S. contractor dead.