War Powers Resolution

Trump has unleashed the Saudi monarchy. The House must act

Saudi Arabia's extremist monarchy is out of control, and the Trump Administration has proved unwilling or unable to rein it in.

This week, Saudi Arabia's monarchy elevated as its heir Mohammed bin Salman - the man most responsible for the Saudi war and blockade in Yemen that has deliberately pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and ignited a deadly cholera outbreak across the country. [1]

Then, when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi Arabia to articulate "reasonable and actionable" demands for ending its blockade of U.S. ally Qatar - which hosts the largest U.S. base in the Middle East - Saudi Arabia responded by demanding that Qatar shut down broadcaster Al Jazeera, expel non-Qataris from Qatar, stop funding other news outlets including Middle East Eye, and shut down Qatari diplomatic posts in Iran.

Left to its own devices, the Trump Administration is not going to save millions of Yemenis from Saudi-imposed famine. Saudi Arabia has defied the UN Security Council's call for ceasefire. Congress must act.

Urge your Representative to force a House vote on withdrawing U.S. backing from Saudi Arabia's war by signing our petition at MoveOn.

House: Back UN Call for Saudi-Yemen Cease-fire to Stop Cholera & Famine

On June 15, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire in the conflict between the Saudi-UAE coalition and the Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen. "The U.N. Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Thursday to immediately agree on a cease-fire and keep all ports open for humanitarian aid to confront the threat of famine and the rapid spread of cholera," AP reported.

Urge your Rep. to force a House vote to back the UN call for ceasefire.

On June 13, using the Arms Export Control Act to force a floor vote, the U.S. Senate narrowly failed to block an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Senators opposed to the deal stressed the need to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen rather than escalate it.

"The Saudi-led war in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Millions are at the risk of starvation...the chaos in Yemen has also been strategically disastrous for the United States, providing fertile ground for the extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS...it is long past time that we begin to take a very hard look at our relationship with Saudi Arabia...it is important that we begin to discuss...the decades long effort by Saudi Arabia to export an ultra-reactionary form of Islam throughout the world."

Tell Trump: he has 48 hours to report on his unauthorized Syria strike

On Thursday, April 6, President Trump attacked Syria without Congressional authorization, violating the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

Following Nixon's unauthorized escalations of the Vietnam War, the Congressional Framers of the War Powers Resolution knew that it was likely that future Presidents would try to use military force without Congressional authorization. That's why they put multiple mechanisms in the WPR to help future Congresses defend their war powers.

One of those mechanisms was the requirement that the President report in writing to Congress within 48 hours of using military force without a declaration of war, stating: "(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces; (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement."

On April 7, Reps. Peter DeFazio [OR-], Mark Pocan [WI-2], Barbara Lee [CA-13], and James McGovern [MA-2] sent a letter to Trump reminding him that under the War Powers Resolution, he has 48 hours to report to Congress on his unauthorized strike.

Add your voice to those of DeFazio, Pocan, Lee and McGovern by signing our petition at MoveOn.

Should we give one man the power to start a nuclear war?

Under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, Congress has the sole authority to initiate the use of force if the U.S. is not under armed attack. But during the Cold War, a bizarre exception to this basic idea of our democracy was introduced and tolerated: the President could start a nuclear war on his own say-so. It was a horrible policy then. There's certainly no excuse for it now. Right now, President Trump could launch thousands of nuclear weapons on his own say-so.

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Ted Lieu have introduced legislation – the Restricting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act – that would limit the ability of Trump - or any President - to launch nuclear weapons without Congressional action. The Act would require congressional authorization in order to use nuclear weapons, except in response to an incoming nuclear attack.

Urge Congress to support the Markey-Lieu bill by signing our joint petition with Win Without War and Daily Kos.

TODAY: Help me press Durbin, Duckworth in Chicago on Saudi-Yemen war powers

President Trump has already "increased logistical support" for the Saudi bombing of Houthis in Yemen. Trump Administration officials are threatening to conduct drone strikes against the Houthis. But Congress never authorized this war. Under the War Powers Resolution, a single Member of Congress could force a debate and vote on what Trump is doing. Unfortunately, we haven't got a single Member of Congress to agree to do this yet.

That’s why I'm going to visit the offices of Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth in Chicago today (February 7th, 2017). I'm going to deliver the Illinois signatures on this petition, urging Durbin and Duckworth to stand up on Saudi-Yemen war powers before Trump can further escalate the war.

Here's how you can help:

1. Call Durbin's Chicago office at 312-353-4952 and/or Duckworth's Chicago office at (312) 886-3506. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say:

"I urge Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth to invoke the War Powers Resolution to force Congressional debate on Trump's escalation of the Saudi war in Yemen."

When you've made your call(s), please report that below.

2. Sign and share our petition if you haven't already. If you already signed and shared, please share it again.

Congress: Debate and Vote Before New Libya War

The Obama administration is drawing up plans to significantly escalate U.S. military action in Libya. Administration officials say the campaign in Libya could begin in a matter of weeks.

Urge Congress to exercise its Constitutional responsibility to debate and vote before U.S. military escalation in Libya by signing our petition at MoveOn:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/congress-debate-vote-before-new-libya-war

This escalation is being planned without a meaningful debate in Congress about the merits and risks of a military campaign, the New York Times notes. Pentagon officials have not made a case that the proposed military action has achievable goals, and airstrikes could lead to a ground war.

If Congress takes no action, endless war will likely be extended to a new country, without time limit, without restrictions on the use of U.S. ground troops, and without any limit on who can be targeted, even if they have never attacked the United States nor shown any public inclination to do so.

Urge Congress to exercise its responsibilities under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution by debating and voting on U.S. military escalation in Libya before it happens by signing and sharing our petition:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/congress-debate-vote-before-new-libya-war

Just Foreign Policy statement on the President's speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2014

Contact:
Robert Naiman, Policy Director 
naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
(202) 448-2898 x1

Just Foreign Policy Statement in Response to President Obama’s Statement on Plans for Military Escalation in Iraq & Syria

Washington, DC- Just Foreign Policy released the following statement by Policy Director Robert Naiman, in response to President Obama’s statement concerning his plans for U.S. military escalation in Iraq and Syria:

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We are deeply troubled by President Obama’s apparent claims that he does not need and will not seek Congressional authorization to continue airstrikes in Iraq and expand them to Syria, nor to expand the arming and training of insurgents in Syria, which arming has contributed to the present strength of ISIS. Obama was right when he told the Boston Globe as a Presidential candidate in December 2007, “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.” President Obama was right to seek Congressional authorization for bombing Syria last year. He is wrong not to seek authorization now.

Sunset an Authorization for the Use of Force in Iraq

Judging from press reports, when Congress returns from its August recess in early September, the United States military will have been bombing "Islamic State" fighters in Iraq for a month, with a broader set of missions than originally advertised, and with plans to continue bombing for months.


The United States Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution require that such a war be authorized by Congress in order to continue. We cannot accept that such major decisions about the use of our power and resources, putting U.S. soldiers at risk and shaping the perceptions of the world about us by shedding the blood of foreigners that we don't know, be made indefinitely behind closed doors by executive fiat.

President Obama: Don't Strike Syria Without Congressional Approval

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Eliot Engel - a Democrat who voted for the Iraq war - told Fox News that President Obama should strike Syria first and get Congressional approval afterwards.

Senator Rand Paul Calls the Question on War with Iran

Before we have a war with Iran, shouldn't the Senate and the House have at least one debate and vote on it? Isn't that what the Constitution demands? Isn't that what is demanded by the War Powers Resolution (which, despite its name, is binding law)?

If you agree to the principle that Congress should debate and vote on a war with Iran before any such war takes place (which also happens to be the Constitution and the law), when do you think a good time would be for the Senate and the House to start taking up the question? Should we wait until after there is further escalation? Should we wait until after some real or invented Persian Gulf of Tonkin incident, when Members of Congress can be steamrolled by cable news and right-wing talk radio? Or should we start having the debate now, when rational argument still has a chance, so that Members of Congress will be forced to choose sides between American generals, who oppose war with Iran, and the Israeli Prime Minister, who wants war with Iran?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul thinks we should have the debate right now.

On Tuesday, Sen. Paul took to the Senate floor to oppose unanimous consent of a new Iran sanctions bill so he could introduce an amendment that would ensure that nothing in the act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran or Syria, and affirm that any use of military force must be authorized by Congress.