News & Politics

Dems' Call for Trump to Seek Congress' Approval on Iran Has 'Nothing to Do With Who the President Is,' Senator Says

Senate Armed Services Committee member, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "Nuclear Policy and Posture" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told PJM that Democratic lawmakers arguing that President Trump needs congressional approval before military action can be taken against Iran are doing so regardless of Trump’s party affiliation.

King, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, was asked why President Trump needs congressional authority for striking Iran when former President Obama didn’t need congressional authorization to intervene militarily in Libya.

“Why do you think this is a different situation?” King was asked.

“I don’t. I think Obama should have,” King said after speaking at a symposium on “Great Power Competition and Cyber Conflict” at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday. “I supported a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) at that time along with Tim Kaine – it has nothing to do with who the president is. It has to do with Congress exercising its responsibility.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that the House of Representatives will “vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the president’s military actions regarding Iran.”

“This resolution is similar to the resolution introduced by Senator Tim Kaine in the Senate. It reasserts Congress’ long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days,” she wrote in a letter to Democrats on Sunday.

In 2011, Pelosi argued that Obama did not need congressional approval to take military action against Libya.

“The limited nature of this engagement allows the president to go forward,” Pelosi said at the time. “I’m satisfied that the president has the authority he needs to go ahead.”

On Friday, Pelosi lamented that she was not briefed on the airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander, Qasem Soleimani, before the operation took place.

“The Trump Admin has conducted strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an AUMF against Iran. Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” she wrote on Twitter.