Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) voted last week to preserve congressional authority over the power to declare war and to pass H.Con.Res. 83. The bipartisan resolution directs the President to terminate the use of the United States military in hostilities against Iran unless Congress authorizes them or action is necessary to defend against an imminent armed attack on the United States or our armed forces. Executive authority to defend the United States under Article II Section 2 of the Constitution is preserved.
The resolution clarifies that it does nothing to prevent the President from coming to Congress for authorization if Iran attacks our allies or partners, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. It also clarifies that it does nothing to prevent the President from using force against Al-Qaeda or its associated forces.
“Under Article I, Congress has the power to declare war,” Rep. Sherrill stated. “I take that responsibility very seriously. In order to best support our troops, too many of whom have given their lives in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress has an obligation to clearly define the war powers it grants to the executive branch. Many of us are concerned that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, which were passed while I was serving on active duty, are being used in 2020 to authorize conflicts beyond what Congress envisioned at the time. With this War Powers resolution, we are ensuring that this President — or any future President — does not enter into another war in the Middle East without a clear strategy and congressional approval as required by the Constitution.
“Importantly, this resolution does not limit the powers of the President to continue to fight Al-Qaeda and to defend Americans and our interests.”