Can Obama go to war without House authorization?
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Obama Administration will be unable to garner majority support for its war in the House of Representatives. Close to 60% of Americans do not want this conflict. At the same time, the White House likely has enough juice left in the tank to whip out majority support in the Democratic-controlled Senate, although it is unclear whether a filibuster-proof majority will be required, although it clearly should be (Harry Reid has a tendency to discard Senate rules when its suits him).
The question observers are now asking is whether the President will go ahead with a strike without the support of the House of Representatives, thus receiving half-ass Congressional authorization.
The White House has maintained all along that it is a Constitutional island unto itself and that it doesn’t need Congressional authorization to launch a war or to use military force not authorized by the War Powers Act. Some Republicans have rightly suggested that Barack Obama could be flirting with an impeachable offense.
The Boehner/Pelosi two-headed monster will be unable to whip 218 House votes for the President’s war.
Should Senate Majority leader Reid be able to find 60 votes for war in the Senate, the President will take that and strike. Article I, section 8 of the Constitution delegates the power to declare war to the Congress. It does not delegate the power to half of the Congress. Furthermore, the case could be made that in decisions such as this, the people’s chamber—the House, is more important in authorizing a use of force as it reflects the naked will of the people in a way that the Senate never can.
War with Syria requires Congressional approval, as we recently discussed here:
This is not a 50% Congressional approval, but a full approval. The President has been praised, and rightly so for his decision to seek out Congress in this matter, but he cannot now half-ass this.
Republican and Democrat Senators should be aware of the President’s plans for war and weigh their votes that much more as they move forward.