Congress Must Not Give Away its War Powers to Trump


April 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — Win Without War Director Stephen Miles released the following statement on reports that the Senate will take up a new authorization for the use military force:

Why would any Senator want to permanently codify the status quo and give President Trump, or any president for that matter, even more expansive powers to wage unilateral war around the world?

That’s exactly what new legislation proposed by Senators Bob Corker and Tim Kaine, known as the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) of 2018, would do. What’s worse, the bill, which claims to as establish “rigorous congressional oversight” on the so-called the war on terror, would ultimately cede Congress’s constitutional power as the sole body empowered to declare war.

This legislation grants the executive branch broad authority to decide where and when the United States goes to war and who it goes to war with. Moreover, it only gives Congress the option to weigh in on who the executive branch decides to go to war with after the president has directed the military into action, a dangerous handoff of one of Congress’ most solemn responsibilities.

The Bush, Obama, and now Trump administrations have used laws from 2001 and 2002 – which authorized war against the perpetrators of 9/11 and approved George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq – to justify expanding wars around the world. This strategy has failed repeatedly against a threat that cannot be solved through military action.

Polling shows that an overwhelming majority of  Americans only want Congress to authorize the use of force as a last resort, and with clear objectives and end goals. This new AUMF does neither of those. Instead it expands Trump’s blank check to wage global wars of choice.

Congress should repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, not pass new legislation that broadens the executive’s ability to engage the U.S. in more war.

It’s imperative that Congress reject the Corker-Kaine proposal and instead work toward taking back its war-making powers and reining in the executive branch’s overly-expansive interpretation of its war-making authority.


Win Without War is a diverse network of national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in America.