Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke at a press conference after the Senate passed Senator Kaine’s bipartisan War Powers resolution on Iran, which would reaffirm Congress’ role in matters of war and peace. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
I want to thank my colleagues here. I want to salute Tim Kaine. This has been a passion of his for decades, or years? Or somewhere in between decades and years. And Tammy Duckworth, Dick Durbin, Tom Udall, have all worked really dedicatedly on this.
What the Senate did today behind the leadership of my colleagues who are behind me, is what we should be doing every day. Working on a bipartisan basis to make a real impact for our county. It’s a rare day here in the Senate. I wish we didn’t have to say that, but it is. But the Senate just sent a clear, shot across the bow: a bipartisan majority of Senators don’t want the president waging war without Congressional approval. That sums up the whole thing.
The president does not have the authority to go to war. Democratic and Republican Senators have made that crystal clear. No president, no president can side step Congress when it comes to war and peace. That’s what the Founding Fathers embedded in our Constitution. It’s one of the most bedrock principles in America. And we have to uphold it, and that’s why we’re here today.
The president, Trump or any other President, cannot plunge the United States into an endless conflict in the Middle East. Today the Constitution worked exactly as the Framers wanted it to work. Senators worked together to assert Congress’s authority and serve as a check of an overreaching Executive Branch. All 47 Democrats, 8 Republicans stood up and said enough was enough. Enough with endless wars. Enough with an executive having too much leeway over the matters of war and peace. Enough unilateral escalation of hostilities. We stood strong for the principle that our country should not go to war without a vote of Congress.
Now, we wish there were more Republicans supporting us, but I think President Trump certainly received this message. In the future, more Republicans will join us. We’re sure of that. American people don’t want endless wars. And we will show, we have shown today the power of Congress when we have members willing to make decisions based on what the Constitution, and our constituents want, not what President Trump wants.
We’re supposed to use this power to prevent on branch from becoming too powerful and abusing our Constitution. So I hope, I pray, that this is not the last time that we will come together and make decisions on what our constituents want. Not what the presidents wants. I hope this is not the last time we will come together and this Senate will put country ahead of party.
Senator Kaine’s War Powers Resolution is a huge step in the right direction, it will correct decades of decaying congressional power. I want to commend Senator Kaine, Senator Duckworth, Senator Durbin, Senator Udall, and so many others. This has been a long labor, this did not happen just like that. And, maybe miracles happen, the president will come to his senses and not veto this, because he knows it’s the right thing to do.