President ‘becoming an absolute monarch’ on war powers, Dem says

Posted: June 24, 2011 in Washington Politics

Pete Kasperowicz
The Hill
June 24, 2011

A House Democrat warned Friday that the U.S. president is becoming an “absolute monarch” on matters related to the authority to start a war.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Congress must act to limit funding for military operations in Libya in order to correct that trend.

“We have been sliding for 70 years to a situation where Congress has nothing to do with the decision about whether to go to war or not, and the president is becoming an absolute monarch,” Nadler said on the floor. “And we must put a stop to that right now, if we don’t want to become an empire instead of a republic.”

Nadler stressed that he is not talking exclusively about “this president,” meaning President Obama. But he said nonetheless that Congress needs to reassert its authority to declare war, and said this should be done even over concerns that it would damage U.S. credibility with its NATO allies.

“I think that the nation’s credibility, that is to say its promise to go to war as backed by the president, not by the Congress, ought to be damaged,” he said.

“And if foreign countries learn that they cannot depend on American military intervention unless Congress is aboard for the ride, good,” he added. “That’s a good thing.”

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