Rep. Walter Jones, the Republican congressman who introduced it last week, hopes it will help keep the U.S. military out of Syria.
When President Obama involved American forces in Libya without Congressional approval, violating the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, sued him. "The president is not a king. He was elected by the people, just like the House and Senate," he said. "I think he is absolutely off-base. I think that is an abuse of power, and that's why we're going to the courts." Despite voting for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Rep. Jones turned anti-war while President Bush was still in office, and having so far failed to stop President Obama from fighting undeclared wars, he is now attempting a new strategy: the threat of impeachment.
Last week, after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the Obama Administration would seek international permission -- but not necessarily Congressional permission -- before taking action in Syria, Jones submitted to the Committee on the Judiciary the following resolution:
It is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress's exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.
At present, the resolution doesn't have much chance at passing, which is how the Obama Administration likes it. But it wasn't so long ago that its highest-ranking officials thought differently.