Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) made a name for himself by conducting filibusters against the PATRIOT Act and another against the possible unlawful usage of drones against American citizens by their own government.
Now, he’s taking up the fight again and once again it is in an attempt to upend a rule from the George W. Bush era that gives the President more power to conduct war than the Constitution allows.
The Senator has long contended that his greatest concern is the defense of the constitution:
On Tuesday, he forced the business of the Senate to stop because the Senate was attempting to ignore his request to debate the Authorization on Use of Military Force (AUMF).
However, instead of speaking Senator Paul simply fell silent, and that silence forced the Senate to standstill.
Paul was not kidding and he pressed his point forward by pointing out the cowardice of his colleagues.
Paul’s efforts were finally rewarded:
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate will hold a vote on U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force.
This will mark the first Senate vote addressing an AUMF since 2002.
Senator Paul’s amendment would take effect six months after the 2018 NDAA becomes law, giving Congress time to hear from the American people and thoroughly debate granting any new, specific authority. You can read his amendment HERE.
Earlier today, Senator Paul spoke on the Senate floor to demand Congress take its constitutional responsibilities seriously and vote on his amendment.
“I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared, and unconstitutional war,” said Senator Paul.
Senator Paul also took to the pages of Rare to explain why he believed the time had long since passed for us to rid ourselves of the AUMF.
As Congress takes up the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will insist it vote on my amendment to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force.
Because these authorizations to use military force are inappropriately being used to justify American warfare in 7 different countries. Sunsetting both AUMFs will force a debate on whether we continue the Afghanistan war, the Libya war, the Yemen war, the Syria war, and other interventions…
Repealing the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs would restore respect for the balance of power and reassert Congress’ voice by forcing legislators to specifically approve or disapprove the direction of our foreign policy. If my provision passes, the authorizations would sunset six months later, allowing Congress time for a thorough debate about how we will move forward.
I say this fully aware Congress could propose a blanket authorization I could never vote for, but that vote needs to at least happen…
Although ISIS is a threat we must confront and defeat, we cannot continue to throw our Constitution out the window to do so, or our enemies will have won a crucial victory no matter how many of them we destroy.
Believing in that document – having the confidence that the Founders were students of government’s mistakes throughout history and got it right – strengthens us more than opening yet another front with billions of dollars we have to borrow from another country.
Instead of pursuing a whack-a-mole foreign policy that consistently keeps us on the defensive and endangers our nation by spreading us thin, let’s utilize the same focus and discipline we expect of our military to give them specific authorization as each unique situation warrants.
My amendment would give the U.S. Senate that chance.
Senator Paul is right about the AUMF, the NDAA, and the administration’s use of drones on American citizens. However, he’s not likely to win this fight with the current makeup in Congress, but he’s right to force the battle anyway. These votes need to be recorded so that the truth about who stands with the Constitution and who stands against it can be known. It’s also a good way to prove that the anti-war left is a farce. If they actually believed the things they say they believe, they would join with Senator Paul and the libertarian-leaning Republicans in Congress to repeal the unconstitutional military powers given to the Executive Branch. Only the legislature can send us to war, and with very good reason, war can only be engaged when the people of the United States (through our representatives) order it. The President does not have the power to take us to war, we do.