Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is using President Obama’s own words against him in an amendment designed to make sure the White House doesn’t strike Syria without congressional approval.
Paul’s sense of the Senate amendment states that Obama would be in violation of the Constitution if he acts without winning congressional approval.
“Senator Barack Obama stated correctly to the Boston Globe in 2007 that the ‘President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation’” Paul’s amendment reads in part.
At the time, Obama was making the case that the Bush administration had no legal standing to unilaterally attack an Iranian regime violently opposing a civilian uprising.
The president has asked Congress to authorize a strike against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons. The administration says it has proof that a Syrian chemical attack killed more than 1,400 people. It argues it is in the U.S. national interest to punish Syria for the attack to discourage future use of chemical weapons.
It is unclear what Obama will do if Congress does not approve a military strike.
He has said he believes he would have the power to act alone, but doing so would be politically difficult.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the president has the power to act “no matter what Congress does.”
Paul, who is reportedly considering a filibuster of the Senate resolution to act in Syria, declares in his amendment that Obama would be in violation of the Constitution if he acts without congressional approval.
“It is the sense of Congress that if the authorization fails to pass Congress, the President would be in violation of the Constitution if he were to use military force against the Government of Syria,” the amendment continues.