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Watch Rand Paul Urge Congress to Stop Letting the President ‘Do Whatever He Wants’ in War

"The neoconservatives and the neoliberals believe the president has unlimited authority," senator complains during unsuccessful attempt to repeal the post-9/11 authorizations for the use of military force.

Moments ago, the United States Senate voted 61-36 to kill an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would have given a six-month sunset to the authorizations for use of military force that were passed on Sept. 14, 2001, and again in 2002 in the run-up to the Iraq War.

"I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared, and unconstitutional war," Paul declared yesterday, while getting his amendment scheduled for a vote. "None of the seven wars we're involved with now has anything to do with 9/11," he argued on last night's Hardball.

Paul's floor speech today was a stinging rebuke to Senate's "abdication" of responsibility to the executive branch in the waging of war, and the resulting interventionist promiscuity. "The neoconservatives and the neoliberals believe the president has unlimited authority," the senator complained. Watch the whole thing below:

Read Eli Lake's 2010 Reason article on "The 9/14 Presidency," and Brian Doherty's post this week on Paul's attempt to force Congress to perform arguably its most important constitutional function.

Photo Credit: Matt Welch

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  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Paul's attempt to force Congress to perform arguably its most important constitutional function.

    Increasing the debt ceiling?

  • Trigger Warning||

    Providing jobs for otherwise unemployable retards?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    What a madman. We're at WAR, Rand. This is not the time to be debating the authorization for war. And so close to 9/11, my word.

  • CE||

    The powers delegated to the Congress are not a suicide pact.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Paul's move would "leave nothing but uncertainty" for the military and be "simply irresponsible."

    "Sixteen years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, our enemies aren't gone and our troops are still in harm's way," he said from the Senate floor.

    What an asshole.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "Sixteen years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, our enemies aren't gone and our troops are still in harm's way," he said from the Senate floor.

    That's... not really an effective argument in favor of the status quo, Mitchell.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I'm sure if we war harder for another 16 years, our enemies will be 16 years older and our troops will, perhaps, be in slightly less danger.

  • Hugh Akston||

    America is mere days away from defeating the masterminds behind 9/11, CX. Why would Rand want to jeopardize the mission now?

  • CE||

    It works for those wanting to continue the Drug War though. It's not working, so we can't quit!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Does anyone possibly see that as a rebuttal to Paul's point? Congress can still choose to go kill people overseas. They just have to do it themselves.

  • Jacks61||

    McConnell is just a douchenozzle. I just commented last night on a different topic about the only people benefiting from the endless wars is the Military Complex. And companies like Blackwater. $180 f*cking grand a year for an operator.. Taxpayers are footing that bill.

    I wonder why ol Mitch is leading the way to bring back the Military draft? Because he knows he would be drummed out of office. This is a business certain members are protecting. It's NOT about National Security, it's about financial security for a select few.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Since I can't find it, I order one of you geeks to find the roll call and post it.

    Thanks.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Geez, what a real taskmaster.

  • SIV||

    Congress and the bipartisan establishment seem More concerned the President WILL do whatever he wants in War rather than follow the DoD and State's lead.

  • CE||

    The problem is the opposition party wants the president to have unlimited authority, since they are more likely to regain the presidency than the legislature. And the party in power is in power and likes wars, and likes especially not having to vote for them on the record.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    If a president with the bipartisan unpopularity of a Donald Trump isn't proving to be sufficient motivation for congress to reign in the executive, i don't know what Senator Perm thinks he's going to accomplish.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    At least it's nice to be reminded who still supports endless war

    Cruz is one who I thought could go either way, but maybe after the porn thing he wanted to reassert his "American values". Screw him

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Interestingly, "Asserting His American Values" was the title of the porn clip he inadvertently liked.

  • Trigger Warning||

    You misspelled "inserting."

  • A Thinking Mind||

    It's possible that this is less a vote in favor of wars and more a vote in favor of moral cowardice. After all, everyone who voted in favor of the war in Iraq has had that thrown back in their face for over a decade now. Nobody wants to go on the record and vote in favor of war, they'd much rather have that choice taken from them. Then they can't ever make the wrong choice, and when it's convenient, they're allowed to express moral outrage.

    It's shocking to me how this isn't gaining any traction anywhere but here.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    In the midst of what's basically an endless war, cowardice is morally the same as support

  • Pro Libertate||

    What is there in modern warfare that requires us to illegally suspend declarations of war? War is a serious business. If we need to engage in war, then Congress needs to declare war. Period.

  • Calidissident||

    Here's the roll call. Paul, Mike Lee, and Dean Heller were the only Republicans to vote in support of Paul's amendment. Rubio didn't vote, but I don't think we need to guess how he would have. 33 Democrats supported Paul's amendment, 13 voted to kill it, and 2 did not vote.

    http://tinyurl.com/yamtcp85

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Thank you.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Naturally, Sasse, Flake and Cruz voted Yay.

  • Brandybuck||

    And Democrats still see no problem with unlimited powers invested in the presidency. Sigh.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Does Clinton's new book say anything about getting living space from other countries? Just curious.

  • Calidissident||

    To be fair, more than two thirds of Senate Democrats voted with Paul. Still a substantial number against, from the looks of it they mostly seem to be in red or purple states and not particularly well-known. With 3 Republicans on board and Rubio not voting, Paul's amendment would have passed if all the Democrats had voted for it.

  • retiredfire||

    No, "The neo-conservatives and the neo-liberals" don't "believe the president has unlimited authority," but they, and anyone else who can read, knows that, when it comes to what he wants to do with the armed forces, the Commander in Chief can do whatever he wants.
    Congress can refuse to fund it, if they want, but "declaring war" is essentially an administrative function and not a kinetic one.
    If Congress declares war and the president doesn't want to send troops, he doesn't have to.
    If the president wants to send troops, he can do it without Congress declaring war - it has happened too many times to deny that it is the case.

  • Calidissident||

    The fact that something unconstitutional happens unchallenged doesn't make it constitutional.

    The president's role as commander-in-chief is limited by the Constitution granting Congress the sole power to declare war. There is literally no reason to think the Founders meant this as a purely symbolic power that had no real importance. They explicitly stated that this feature would be a key piece of differentiation from Great Britain, where the King could start wars as he pleased. And early history with war backs this up. Adams, Jefferson, and Madison relied on Congressional authorization for non-defensive use of force in the Quasi War, Barbary Wars, and War of 1812.

  • BYODB||

    And...from what I understand the effort has failed. Predictably, but still disappointing.

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