Dems rip Biden for launching Houthi strikes without congressional approval

Dems rip Biden for launching Houthi strikes without congressional approval

A group of progressive Democratic lawmakers on Thursday responded furiously to President Joe Biden’s move to launch retaliatory strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen without first seeking congressional approval.

The strikes marked the first major U.S. military response to the group’s ongoing attacks on commercial ships since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

The Biden administration justified the joint strikes with the United Kingdom, supported by the Netherlands, Canada, Bahrain, and Australia, as conducted “in accordance with the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense, consistent with the UN Charter.”

Lawmakers argued that the move violated Article 1 of the Constitution, which requires military action to be authorized by Congress. Biden notified Congress but did not request its approval.

“This is an unacceptable violation of the Constitution,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who chairs the Progressive Caucus, wrote on social media.

Progressives Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) echoed Jayapal, decrying “endless war” and labeling Biden’s actions unconstitutional.

“The President needs to come to Congress before launching a strike against the Houthis in Yemen and involving us in another middle east conflict. That is Article I of the Constitution. I will stand up for that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is in the White House,” said California Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on X, formerly known as Twitter. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) retweeted Khanna.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) responded to Khanna’s post in agreement, writing that ”the Constitution matters, regardless of party affiliation.” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), also praised Khanna’s “principles” in a social media post. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said that he was open to striking Yemen, but questioned why the decision had not been made by Congress.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc) also demanded the White House work with Congress before continuing the strikes. “The United States cannot risk getting entangled into another decades-long conflict without Congressional authorization,” he wrote in a post on social media.

Some Republicans, meanwhile, couched their praise of the strikes in broader criticism of the administration.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that he welcomed the U.S. strikes, writing that the use of force was “overdue.”

“I am hopeful these operations mark an enduring shift in the Biden Administration’s approach to Iran and its proxies. To restore deterrence and change Iran’s calculus, Iranian leaders themselves must believe that they will pay a meaningful price unless they abandon their worldwide campaign of terror,” McConnell added.

Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker, (R-Miss), said in a statement: “This strike was two months overdue, but it is a good first step toward restoring deterrence in the Red Sea. I appreciate that the administration took the advice of our regional commanders and targeted critical nodes within Houthi-controlled Yemeni territory.”

“Terrorists know only the language of force and it is about time the administration acted on that fact. This action should have been taken weeks ago,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Biden must now act every day to end the ability of Houthi forces and all Iran-back terrorists to attack the US and our partners,” he added.

Iowa senator and veteran Joni Ernst also called the action “overdue” and wrote that “Iran-backed Houthis should never have been emboldened to wreak havoc on U.S. troops and global commerce.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was “very supportive” of the decision, adding that “the only language radical Islamic groups understand is force. I hope the Biden Administration understands that their deterrence policy has completely failed.”

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