Rep. Pramila Jayapal has doubled down on her attacks on President Joe Biden amid his recent military strikes against Houthi rebels.
Appearing on MSNBC this Saturday, she argued that the president was obligated by the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to consult with Congress before striking the Houthis and potentially putting the United States at risk of entering into another war.
“The intent of Congress in the War Powers Resolution was to say that in every circumstance, Democratic president, Republican president, whatever the circumstance is, we need to ensure that Congress is consulted,” she said.
“And again, I would just say that particularly given the circumstances here, given that this is in the Middle East, given that, you know, Israel’s war on Gaza is continuing and, uh, it has significant consequences for us to be drawn in as to who these want us to be drawn in,” she added.
“I think that this is absolutely a circumstance where the president is required to consult with Congress, and I think he needs to come to us now and ask for authorities for anything further that they intend to do,” She concluded.
The remarks came days after she published a tweet slamming the president for violating Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution:
This is an unacceptable violation of the Constitution. Article 1 requires that military action be authorized by Congress. https://t.co/rTo7HWFB54
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 12, 2024
Interestingly, the attacks on the president have been bipartisan, with several Republicans and Democrats alike blasting him for once again overstepping his presidential powers.
In tweets of his own posted Thursday, Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna also pointed to both Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.
The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another middle east conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution. I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) January 11, 2024
Section 2C of the War Powers Act is clear: POTUS may only introduce the U.S. into hostilities after Congressional authorization or in a national emergency when the U.S. is under imminent attack. Reporting is not a substitute. This is a retaliatory, offensive strike.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) January 12, 2024
This is the best explanation of the WPR. Please read. https://t.co/jpllSgSAIv
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) January 12, 2024
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Mike Lee later retweeted Khanna’s posts and added this: “The Constitution matters, regardless of party affiliation.”
All this comes amid strikes carried out on Thursday by U.S. and U.K. forces against Houthi rebel forces in Yemen.
The strikes were authorized to encourage the Houthis to stop attacking commercial boats passing through the Red Sea.
“Today’s defensive action follows this extensive diplomatic campaign and Houthi rebels’ escalating attacks against commercial vessels,” the president said in a statement following the strikes. “These targeted strikes are a clear message that the United States and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel or allow hostile actors to imperil freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most critical commercial routes.”
“I will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary,” he added.
Statement from Biden on strikes against Houthis pic.twitter.com/dSh4EGLiEM
— Steve Lookner (@lookner) January 12, 2024
The Houthis have for their part threatened a “strong and effective response” to the strikes.
All this said, while there has been some bipartisan pushback against the president, there’s also been some bipartisan praise.
“I welcome the U.S. and coalition operations against the Iran-backed Houthi terrorists responsible for violently disrupting international commerce in the Red Sea and attacking American vessels,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said in a statement last week. “President Biden’s decision to use military force against these Iranian proxies is overdue.”
“I am hopeful these operations mark an enduring shift in the Biden Administration’s approach to Iran and its proxies. To restore deterrence and change Iran’s calculus, Iranian leaders themselves must believe that they will pay a meaningful price unless they abandon their worldwide campaign of terror,” he added.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Mike McCaul, also a Republican, also praised the strikes — though he also made note of the president’s foolish decision years ago to remove the Houthis’ terrorist designation.
“I’m pleased the president, in coordination with our allies, finally took action against the Iran-backed Houthis following weeks of instability in the Red Sea,” he said. “Tonight, with these strikes, we are beginning to restore deterrence. The administration must acknowledge it was a mistake to rescind the Houthis designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and re-list them immediately.”
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