February 12, 2020

Video: Kaine Pushes For Passage Of War Powers Resolution, Urges ‘Careful Deliberation’ Before Sending Troops Into Harm’s Way

Video of Kaine’s speech: https://timkaine.box.com/s/ehg2iyev0fjbrih9uhcj26gc9bm5h8v4

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, delivered a floor speech calling on the Senate to pass his bipartisan war powers resolution to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran without congressional authorization. The Senate began debate on the resolution today. In the floor speech, Kaine talked about visiting the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) last week and seeing the enduring consequences of war, like traumatic brain injury and PTSD. He shared how that visit highlighted the need to ensure Congress is doing its constitutional duty to carefully deliberate matters of war before ordering troops to risk their lives and health. 

Kaine said about the visit to Hampton VAMC, “You go to the VA and you grapple with the long consequences of war; it has to make an impression upon those of us in this body charged with the sole responsibility for declaring war that if and when we do so, we owe it the most careful deliberation that we bring to any question that we would ever resolve in our lives. That's not too much to ask for us to deliberate carefully when what's at risk for those who serve, who depend upon us making the best possible decision, is the consequences that will last their own lifetimes and affect the lives of so many others. That's what this resolution is about… It is certainly bipartisan and I hope we will stand up for this important proposition that the careful deliberation of the Senate is the most necessary thing we can do and what we owe to our troops and their families.”

Kaine also said during the speech,While the President does and must always have the ability to defend the United States from imminent attack, the executive power to initiate war stops there. An offensive war requires a congressional debate and vote. This should not be a controversial proposition. It's clearly stated in the Constitution we pledged to support and defend. And the principle is established there for a most important reason: If we're to order our young men and women, like Sergeants Rodriguez and Gutierrez, to risk their lives in health and war, it should be on the basis of careful deliberation by the people's elected legislature and not on the say-so of any one person. Congressional deliberation educates the American public about what are the stakes, what are the stakes involved in any proposed war. Congressional deliberation allows members of Congress to ask tough questions about the need for war, about the path to victory, and about how a victory can be sustained. And if following that public deliberation, there is a vote of Congress for war, it represents a clear statement that a war is in the national interest and that the efforts of our troops are supported by a clear political consensus. We should not allow this important process to be short-circuited. Our framers believed that the congressional deliberation would be the best antidote to unnecessary escalation.”

For years, Kaine has been the leading voice in Congress raising concerns over Presidents’ efforts to expand the use of military force without congressional authorization. Kaine has introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the 2002 AUMF and replace the open-ended 2001 AUMF with a narrower authorization. He also introduced a bipartisan amendment to the national defense bill to prohibit unconstitutional war with Iran, which was supported by a bipartisan majority of Senators in June.