Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has some options for the vote on military action in Syria. Unless the Senate manages to piece together 60 ‘Yes’ votes, the door will remain open for a filibuster. But even if Paul does go that route (for the second time this year), as he told FOX News on Sunday morning, he couldn’t “put off a vote forever.”
But as CNN‘s Kevin Liptak writes, Paul is trying to at least hold President Obama accountable to the Constitution.
“Instead, [Paul] said, he’d demand that any vote taken by Congress be binding, meaning that the president would be barred from striking Syria without congressional approval.
‘The president cannot, if we vote him down, decide to go to war anyway. That’s the way I interpret the Constitution,’ Paul said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’”
Paul tried a similar move earlier, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was discussing (and then voting on) a resolution that would give the president a limited military operation in Syria. Paul attempted to attach an amendment to that resolution, that once again would have tied military action to Congress’ vote.
That amendment was voted down by the committee, and a resolution passed without it attached.
During Sunday’s interview, Paul was also asked about what would happen if Obama engaged in a military operation in Syria without a ‘Yes’ vote from all of Congress. And the interviewer went pretty big-picture.
“Paul, who was elected with strong backing from the tea party movement, wouldn’t speculate whether it would be an impeachable offense for Obama to take action in Syria without support from the Congress, but did say Obama ‘has already proven to go above the law in many instances.’
‘Whether you impeach someone is another question, and it’s obviously a big one. I wouldn’t make a judgment on that,’ he said.”
So Paul has laid out his expectations, even in the face of a president who might end up playing by his own rules, no matter what Congress – or the Constitution – says. At the very least, Paul will try to make sure that doesn’t happen.
What do you think? If Congress votes ‘No’ on a resolution to get involved in Syria, should President Obama be allowing to still proceed with limited strikes as retaliation for the use of chemical weapons?
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