Corker to hold hearing on president's nuclear weapons authority

Corker to hold hearing on president's nuclear weapons authority
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans Cheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama MORE (R-Tenn.) announced Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would hold a hearing next week on “the executive’s authority to use nuclear weapons.”

“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement announcing the Nov. 14 hearing.

“This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons,” he continued. “This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.”

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A debate over nuclear authority has reignited among lawmakers after President Trump warned in August that North Korea could face "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continues to advance its nuclear program.

A number of rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans have come forward saying Congress must authorize the use of nuclear weapons and a declaration of war should Trump want to strike North Korea. 

Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanLincoln Project targets Senate races in Alaska, Maine, Montana with M ad buy Overnight Energy: Official says protesters not cleared from Lafayette Square for Trump | Trump administration blasts banks refusing to fund Arctic drilling | 2019 coal production hit lowest level since 1978 Trump administration blasts banks that refuse to fund arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said “preemptive war” on the Korean Peninsula “would require the authorization of Congress.”  

Both Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey MORE (D-Mass.) introduced bills this year that would bar Trump from launching a preemptive nuclear attack before Congress approves a declaration of war. Those bills have stalled in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has also called on Congress to bar the president from using nuclear weapons unless the United States is attacked first.

Corker has emerged as a fierce critic of President Trump over the last month, saying Trump could put the U.S. “on the path to World War III.”