The Imperial Presidency marches on...
Washington (CNN) – As the U.S. military campaign in Libya approaches the 60-day mark this Friday, six Republican senators wrote President Obama asking if he will comply with the War Powers Act, which says Congress must authorize action that lasts more than 60 days.
"Friday is the final day of the statutory sixty-day period for you to terminate the use of the United States Armed Forces in Libya under the War Powers Resolution. Last week some in your Administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continue indefinitely, while others said you would act in a manner consistent with the War Powers Resolution. Therefore, we are writing to ask whether you intend to comply with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution. We await your response," wrote the GOP senators Wednesday.
The letter was signed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
The GOP senators said they believe the president already violated part of the War Powers Act – which says the president's constitutional powers allow him to only deploy troops into "hostilities" with a declaration of war, specific authorization from Congress or a national emergency caused by an attack on the U.S.
But the president did follow the provision in the 1973 law requiring him to provide information to Congress about committing U.S. forces. Now the question is whether he will abide by the part of the War Powers Act which says he must get Congressional permission within 60 days.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday that he is "talking to the administration" about what exactly Congress and the White House might do to abide by that looming 60-day deadline Friday with regard to Libya.
"We want to make sure we're not stretching anything inappropriate. So we're looking at some language," Kerry said as he entered a weekly policy lunch in the Capitol with Democratic senators. "We're really looking at it very seriously to keep everyone on the same page."
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a vocal advocate of U.S. military support for the Libyan rebels, has been in talks for weeks with Democrats and Republicans about a resolution backing the Libya mission – but perhaps something short of voting on a War Powers resolution. He said Tuesday that congressional leadership has not shown an "inclination" to vote on something.
McCain said he doesn't believe the War Powers Act is constitutional and therefore he doesn't believe the president needs congressional authorization to continue the mission.
"I've never recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, nor has any president, either Republican or Democrat," McCain said.
But Sen. Rand Paul told CNN congress should not let any president get away with launching military action without congressional approval, and that he and his colleagues may go to the Supreme Court and ask for a ruling on whether the president is in violation of the law.
"There is a law. It's on the books, and in plain reading of the War Powers Act, he appears to be in violation of the War Powers Act," said Paul.
Paul said they will also attempt to push "legislative remedies" on the Senate floor, but acknowledges that may be hard to accomplish since Democrats control the schedule.
"To me it's the most important debate we'll ever have up here. If we're going to send someone, your son or my son to war, its important that it be done properly, and its important that if there are constitutional restraints, we obey them," said Paul.
The Imperial Presidency continues to take shape. At one time I'd have believed the military would be a major obstacle to him but I’m starting to doubt it. Look at how meekly & quietly the Pentagon accepted the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. It doesn't matter that the majority of patriotic citizens in uniform are finding further service out of the question due to this and other policies. The buttkissers at the top will be the ones who direct the troops and that direction will be typical of many peacetime brass. They’ll follow all lawful orders, only the definition of “lawful” will be twisted like a pretzel and there'll be no questioning of it.
Ditto for our police forces. After over 40 years of being typed as “pigs” being a cop has become increasingly cast as being an armed thug. Most of our peace officers are STILL the best and noblest in the nonmilitary population. But am I the only one noticing an upsurge in stories of abusive cops? When the memo from DHS came out typing potential right wing terrorists as believers in the 2nd Amendment, limited government, religious, prolife and veterans was there any outrage expressed by any police department administration? We heard none in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. To me that is a very telling sign. We hear at times how police officers will refuse to follow government policy in areas such as immigration, drug enforcement, etc. There has been nary a peep heard about finding the DHS memo absurd.
When you style an occupation as fit only for brutes, that is what you will increasingly attract. I say this as one who always gives the cop on the beat the benefit of the doubt. But lately I pay more attention to things I never did before.
So B.O. will have what he needs to enforce all Empirical edicts. A compliant Judicial Branch coupled with an emasculated Legislative Branch will allow him full rein over us all. All dissenters will be silenced.
Ackerman and Hathaway wrote on the same in the Washington Post op-ed:
“If nothing happens, history will say that the War Powers Act was condemned a quiet death by a president who had solemnly pledged, on the campaign trail, to put an end to indiscriminate war making.”
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