Lawmakers urge Biden to ask Congress before sending military to Ukraine
A group of lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden on Tuesday amid escalating tensions in Ukraine to remind him that he must seek authorization from Congress before sending in troops or launching military attacks.
The bipartisan group of 43 lawmakers acknowledged that Biden previously said he would not send troops into Ukraine but noted the decision could change.
“If the ongoing situation compels you to introduce the brave men and women of our military into Ukraine, their lives would inherently be put at risk of Russia chooses to invade,” the letter reads. “Therefore, we ask that your decisions comport with the Constitution and our nation’s laws by consulting with Congress to receive authorization before any such development.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), among others.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) shared the letter on Twitter, writing that Biden should “follow the Constitution and the law.”
“The American people deserve to have a say before we become involved in yet another foreign conflict,” DeFazio wrote.
The letter comes amid growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, before ordering troops into the Donbas region, sparking fears of a larger invasion and conflict in Europe.
Biden on Tuesday announced additional sanctions against Russia but said he believes Putin’s advancement into Ukraine could be the beginning of a larger-scale invasion to seize more territory.
Biden has so far resisted sending troops into Ukraine, announcing he was moving U.S. soldiers into other NATO countries, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. And earlier this month, Biden moved 160 U.S. troops out of Ukraine.
Lawmakers wrote in the Tuesday letter that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 has been abused by previous presidents, but they noted that the act restricted Biden from not only engaging troops in battle but also launching a “pre-emptive strike.”
“Congress stands ready to deliberate over the potentially monumental implications of such scenarios,” lawmakers said.