- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2017

Sen. Tim Kaine said Friday President Trump is required under the Constitution to receive an authorization of war from Congress before carrying out attacks like the missile strike against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Kaine, Virginia Democrat, is among a small bipartisan group of senators that have criticized lawmakers on Capitol Hill for abdicating their responsibility to the president when it comes to declarations of war, raising concerns about the nation getting involved in unchecked, perpetual military action without forcing members of Congress to cast a vote.

“There is no excuse for bypassing Congress because the Constitution that we all pledge an oath to is very, very, plain that, except for defending the nation against an imminent attack, you can’t start a war without an act of Congress,” Mr. Kaine said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Mr. Trump ordered missile strikes in Syria Thursday without seeking authorization from Congress, drawing criticism from some Republicans and Democrats.

President Obama helped lay the foundation for Mr. Trump’s action.

Before entering office, Mr. Obama took issue with the expansive wars being fought under 2001 and 2002 authorizations of the use of military force, but went on to rely on those same authorizations, including when he signed off on action against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and expanded the U.S. commitment to fight al-Shabab in Somalia.

At the time, Mr. Kaine pushed back against the Obama administration. Now he focused on Mr. Trump.

“Just because Congress has abdicated in the past doesn’t mean that a president can start a new war and say, ‘Well I don’t ever have to go to Congress now,’” Mr. Kaine said Friday. “The Constitutional command is clear. He should be putting an authorization on the table before Congress and we will see whether now with a new president and two Republican houses will Congress continue to abdicate or not.”

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