Senator Kaine Delivers Weekly Democratic Address
“Our Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war,” said Senator Kaine (D-VA). “And every member of Congress should have the courage to vote and be held accountable for the question of whether a war with Iran or any war is a good idea… Congress should weigh in on whether a military mission is worth risking our troops’ lives and health. We can’t consign our troops to possible bloodshed unless Congress votes that military action is in the national interest.”
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the vote on the War Powers Resolution and as the Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Senator Kaine (D-VA) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic Address. In the address Senator Kaine discusses the importance of the War Powers Resolution, which will prevent any president from starting a war with Iran without congressional approval. He emphasizes that the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war and notes that a bipartisan majority of Senators have signaled support for this bill. Senator Kaine then addresses the second constitutional duty the Senate will fulfill in the coming days, the duty to hold the impeachment trial of President Trump. Senator Kaine underscores that senators have sworn an oath to do “impartial justice” in the trial and closes by highlighting the importance of having a fair trial with relevant documents and witness testimony.
Senator Kaine’s remarks as delivered follow:
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. I believe the cure for unnecessary escalation is deliberation. And I believe another war in the Middle East would be a catastrophic mistake.
“So I’ve introduced a war powers resolution to prevent this president – or any president – from starting a war with Iran without a vote of Congress. It’s so important that we have this debate because there’s no decision more important than whether or not to send our troops into harm’s way.
“Our Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war. And every member of Congress should have the courage to vote and be held accountable for the question of whether a war with Iran or any war is a good idea.
“The last thing we need to do is to be tricked into another war in the Middle East. The resolution clearly states that America can always defend itself from imminent attack. But it affirms that before going on offense, Congress should weigh in on whether a military mission is worth risking our troops’ lives and health. We can’t consign our troops to possible bloodshed unless Congress votes that military action is in the national interest.
“I’m very pleased that my resolution has garnered strong bipartisan support, the support necessary to pass in the Senate, and we will vote soon to affirm that the United States should not be in a new war without approval from Congress.
“Next week, the Senate will carry out another of its most solemn constitutional responsibilities.
“As we begin an impeachment trial in the Senate, all 100 Senators swear an oath to do impartial justice. I’ve committed to standing by that oath, and I will not make a final decision on how I will vote on impeachment articles until all evidence has been presented.
“My Democratic colleagues and I have called for a fair trial that includes relevant documents and witness testimony. I hope Senate Republicans will agree that those basic requirements for a fair trial should be followed.”