- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sen. Angus King said Wednesday that Congress needs to stop “abdicating” its responsibility in military matters.

“We have troops in something like 170 countries around the world, and there’s this slow motion, constant, low level war,” Mr. King, Maine independent, said on MSNBC. “We’ve lost 11 people in Afghanistan this year, 16 in Iraq and now four in Niger. Congress hasn’t authorized any of this. We haven’t passed even a bare authorization since the week after Sept. 11.”

Mr. King, who typically caucuses with the Democrats, said that he doesn’t place the blame on President Trump or his predecessor Barack Obama. He said Congress has given up both its responsibility and its power to the executive branch on authorizing military force.

“It’s not a question of this president or the prior president overstepping the bounds or usurping power,” he said. “In my view, this is a case of Congress absolutely addicting not only it’s power, but its responsibility. Hopefully, this even may lead us to a more fruitful discussion and it’s about time in my view.”

The ambush in Niger earlier this month reignited debate of the Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress has periodically debated over the years. Many lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle were surprised to learn how many U.S. troops were stationed in West Africa after the attack and said Congress needs to take up the task of authorizing such force.

“I understand the reluctance to put your hand on something like this and say it’s OK or it’s not OK, but I don’t think we have that luxury,” he said.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Mr. King is a member, expects to be briefed Thursday on the Niger attack.

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