I absolutely condemn the Republican provision added in the defense authorization bill that essentially allows the president to declare war against anyone, anytime and anywhere. This action taken by the GOP, after almost a decade of two undeclared and unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is not only unconstitutional but also very scary.
Section 1034, which expands the definition of the Authorization for Use of Military Force in the Defense Authorization Act, grants the president "the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict... until the termination of hostilities." The American Civil Liberties Union calls this the "single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history"; they are absolutely right. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution makes it clear that it is the responsibility of Congress to consider our president's decision before involving ourselves in any military conflict.
I am confident that President Obama cares for the safety of our brave men and women placed in harm's way but we do not know who else will rise to the office of commander in chief. This is why I reintroduced the universal national service bill, which includes a military draft, so that the American people, through their representatives in Congress, could understand the costs and obligation this nation is undertaking when it engages in something as serious as war.
President Obama has expressed strong opposition to the expansion of power contained in the National Defense Authorization Act. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support Amash Amendment that will strike the provision from the bill. If we do not respond to this surrender of the constitutional authority, we will see another Korea or Iraq. This has to stop sometime. It is up to the U.S. Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty.
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