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Senator Collins’ Statement in Support of Revised War Powers Resolution

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Intelligence Committee, announced today that she will cosponsor the revised war powers resolution (S.J.Res.68) drafted by Senator Tim Kaine:


“Over the past decade, Congress has too often abdicated its constitutional responsibilities on authorizing the sustained use of military force.  Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution vests Congress with the sole power to declare war.  Although the President as Commander in Chief has the power to lead and defend our armed forces and to respond to imminent attacks, no President has the authority to commit our military to a war.  It is important to reassert the Legislative Branch's war powers authorities regardless of who occupies the White House.  This has been my position during every administration, Democratic or Republican. 


“That’s why I have supported a number of prior war powers resolutions, and most recently, an amendment to the Defense bill last June that would have ensured the President sought congressional approval before committing American troops to sustained action against Iran.  And that's why I will cosponsor the revised resolution (S.J.Res.68) drafted by Sen. Tim Kaine that reasserts Congress’s constitutional role and recognizes that the Framers did not vest in the President the authority to declare war unilaterally.


“Let me emphasize that the regime in Iran should not interpret these recent votes in the House and Senate as meaning that Americans are divided on the President's constitutional prerogative to defend U.S. forces and American citizens around the world.  As the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a terrorist organization, Qasem Soleimani was a ruthless enemy of America responsible for the deaths of more than 600 U.S. service members from 2005-2011.  He directly ordered the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq, and he was planning additional attacks against Americans in the Middle East.  The United States can and will continue to defend Americans in Iraq and around the world. 


“Nor should the Iranian regime interpret these votes as a lack of resolve against its aggression and malign activities in the region.  Iran remains the world's foremost supporter of terrorism, pouring billions of dollars into terrorist groups and into funding the murderous Assad regime in Syria.  Nothing in Sen. Kaine’s revised resolution would require our Navy to cease patrolling the Strait of Hormuz, for example.


“Nevertheless, Congress cannot be sidelined on these important decisions.  The Kaine resolution would continue to allow the President to respond to emergencies created by aggression from any hostile nation, including Iran, and to repel an imminent attack by Iran or its proxy forces.  It also does not alter the President’s inherent authority as Commander in Chief to defend our nation and U.S. forces abroad.  It simply makes clear that only the Legislative Branch may declare war or commit our armed forces to a sustained military conflict with Iran.”