‘War should not be started without Congress,’ Kaine says

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineHillary Clinton roasts NYT's Maureen Dowd over column Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency MORE (D-Va.) made a case Sunday for Congress to vote on whether to declare war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Kaine, a member of the Armed Service Committee and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Congress has the sole constitutional authority to declare war.


“We’re not supposed to start a war without Congress,” Kaine said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Kaine made it clear that he supports President Obama’s actions thus far and his plan to fight ISIS, which includes airstrikes and training and arming local troops to fight the group.

But the founders of the United States “made a critical break from previous history where war was a matter for the monarch or the executive, and said that war should not be started without Congress,” Kaine explained.

He also said he supports the vote Congress made earlier this month to allow the military to train the troops and gave money to do so.

But he said the president does not have constitutional authority to declare wars, and the 2001 and 2002 congressional resolutions Obama has cited do not grant him the authority.

Kaine has sponsored a measure that would formally authorize Obama’s mission, with some limitations.

“I include a sunset where the president would have to come back and keep Congress informed to extend the mission beyond a year, a limitation on ground forces, repeal of the 2002 Iraq authorization so we don’t have dueling authorizations out there, and a careful definition of who the target is,” he said.

Tony Blinken, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said earlier Sunday that the administration is on solid ground relying on the 2002 authorization, which gave President Bush power to fight al Qaeda. But he welcomed a new resolution.  

Kaine’s comment closely matched those of Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Angus King (I-Maine) earlier Sunday, both of whom asked for Congress to return to session to vote on ISIS.