US Senator Introduces Bill to Limit Presidential Authority to Declare Wars
AFP 2018 / Jewel SAMADUS06:05 24.05.2018Get short URL
US Senator Jeff Merkley’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) bill would ensure that Congress must vote proactively before the president can start and expand wars. It would also put in additional checks and balances, including a three-year sunset clause, limit on ground troops and a requirement to adhere to international law.
“Today I am today introducing an alternative that will ensure that the United States does not remain in an endless cycle of wars or cede constitutional authorities to the President,” Merkely said in a statement on Wednesday. “We need to restore the vision of the Constitution and make sure that Congress, not the President, has the ultimate say in the decision to send our troops into battle.”
Merkely’s bill provides an alternative to another AUMF measure, which was introduced by Senators Bob Corker and Tim Kaine, and is currently being debated by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“At its core the bill before the committee empowers presidents to expand the scope of the United States’ war on terrorism to new groups and geography without seeking prior congressional authorization. And because that bill has no sunset, it sets the stage for endless war,” Merkley said regarding the Corker-Kaine measure.
The Trump and Obama administrations cited the two AUMF resolutions approved by Congress following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, DC as the legal basis for US forces fighting terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of Africa.
However, members of Congress have claimed that a new AUMF is needed to satisfy a constitutional requirement that Congress declares war and not the president.