Defense

White House open to reforming war powers amid bipartisan push

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The White House on Friday signaled a willingness to work with Congress on developing a narrow framework for the authorizations of use of military force after President Biden’s strikes in Syria last week sparked a fresh war powers debate.

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced a bill in the Senate this week that would repeal two military authorizations, effectively curbing the president’s war powers.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Kaine “a leader on questions of war powers throughout his time in the Senate,” and indicated the executive branch would be open to changes.

“We are committed to working with Congress to ensure that the authorizations for the use of military force currently on the books are replaced with a narrow and specific framework that will ensure we can protect Americans from terrorist threats while ending the forever wars,” Psaki said in a statement Friday.

The bill from Kaine and Young would repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs), which both deal with Iraq. Senators sought to rein in the president’s war powers during the Trump administration, but failed to muster enough votes.

Biden’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria last week reignited the debate, with lawmakers in both parties expressing frustration over a lack of consultation with Congress before military action was taken. The administration didn’t cite either the 1991 or 2002 authorization for the military strikes, the first known to be carried out since Biden took office.

In addition to Kaine and Young, Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are backing the bill.

Tags AUMF Chris Coons Chuck Grassley Dick Durbin Jen Psaki Joe Biden Mike Lee military strike Rand Paul Syria Tammy Duckworth Tim Kaine Todd Young war powers

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