U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02), an Iraqi War veteran, is calling Democrats out over the House’s passage of two measures to hamper President Donald Trump’s war powers toward Iran and Iraq.
Wenstrup retweeted a quote by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23), who said, “BREAKING ⇨ Democrats just voted to make it harder for a President of the United States to defend America against foreign enemies. They are jeopardizing our national security.”
BREAKING ⇨ Democrats just voted to make it harder for a President of the United States to defend America against foreign enemies.
They are jeopardizing our national security.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 30, 2020
The Democratic-led House voted nearly along party lines to pass one measure that would prohibit military action against Iran without congressional approval. It also voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the use of Military Force for the war in Iraq, which presidents have long used to justify a range of military actions.
“The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war. And with President Trump taking steps toward dangerous conflict with Iran – without any consultation with Congress – we need to reassert the responsibility given to us,” Democratic Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in support of the legislation.
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), who offered one amendment, has been a long-time critic of the 2002 military force authorization that allowed the United States to invade Iraq, Politico said.
U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), who offered another amendment, said, “I was encouraged by the President’s tweet this morning, where he encouraged people to vote their hearts. It’s obvious that the President may not be on the same page as some of his staff.”
Wenstrup offered a different take on the amendments.
Regarding the Lee Amendment on the Authorization to use Military Force (AUMF), Wenstrup said, “While I believe that Congress should pass an up-to-date AUMF that recognizes the world as it is now, the effort to repeal the 2002 AUMF without any replacement is dangerous and irresponsible. At a time when bad actors around the world threaten America and our allies, we need to send the message to our troops that we’ve got their backs and support their mission. Unfortunately, this amendment does just the opposite.”
Regarding the Khanna Amendment, Wenstrup said, “Article II of the Constitution establishes the President’s role as Commander-in-Chief. This amendment would tie the President’s hands, preventing him from acting quickly in situations that are short of war. Worse, it would prevent the United States from responding swiftly to overseas attacks on American diplomats, civilians, or allies.”
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.