On March 13, Pennsylvania’s Sen. Bob Casey, and 53 other U.S. senators, (but not Sen. Pat Toomey) took an important step toward restoring congressional constitutional authority by voting for Senate Joint Resolution 7 to end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. That war has created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation.
President Donald Trump vetoed S.J. Res. 7, and May 1 the Senate failed to override that veto in a 53-45 vote, thereby continuing U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and circumventing Congress’ constitutional authority to decide if and when the U.S. goes to war.
Still, the original passage of S.J.Res. 7 and the 53 votes in favor of overriding the veto may be a sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress are increasingly interested in asserting their constitutional duty — our Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to decide when the U.S. goes to war.
That is why we want Casey, Toomey and Congressman Lloyd Smucker to support legislation to repeal the Authorizations for Use of Military Force that were passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The 2001 and 2002 authorizations authorized President George W. Bush to pursue wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Presidents Barack Obama and Trump used them to involve U.S. combat troops in 42 military actions around the world without congressional approval. The authorizations circumvent Congress’ rightful authority. Congress needs to reclaim its constitutional role.