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 CorkerVulnerable senators hold the key to Trump's fate Trump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy 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 SullivanSenators fear Syria damage 'irreversible' after Esper, Milley briefing Overnight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan 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 MarkeyDemocrats introduce SWAMP Act to ban meetings with foreign leaders at Trump properties Flight attendant union endorses Markey in Senate primary battle Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs 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.”