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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

US Congress Dereliction of Responsibility

It isn't new that the US Congress is derelict in its responsibilities. Today's headline in Politico is about the danger of Congress relinquishing its Constitutional duty in declaring war, for instance. Barack Obama was given freer reign, and now Donald Trump wants to institutionalize even more. That is dangerous and irresponsible.

The fact is, that Members of the House and Senate leadership should be called to task for their deficient performance as they and many of their colleagues are failing to uphold their oaths of office. That is impeachable, and maybe even treasonous behavior.

Giving a President with questionable legitimacy and competence more power is utterly absurd.

What will they call it, "The Trump More Powers Act?"

"These temporary battlefields, as The Guardian dubbed them, are not exactly new; the Obama administration already applied the label to conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But the proposal Trump is considering would expand and formalize that decision, stretching the temporary battlefield designation to cover entire countries in which the United States is technically not at war. Despite the bureaucratic language, Trump’s plan, if implemented, is a flagrant perversion of the Constitution, redoubling the worst excesses of the Obama administration and further undercutting the rule of law. 
To understand the recklessness of this proposal, a little history is in order. Though it names the President as “Commander in Chief” of the U.S. military, the Constitution explicitly delegates the power to “declare war” to Congress. The choice of the word “declare” was a careful one, as James Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention reveal. Originally written as the power to “make war,” it was amended to communicate that while the executive is permitted “the power to repel sudden attacks” on American soil, it is not allowed to “commence war” independent of the legislature. 
George Mason, the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” was against “giving the power of war to the Executive, because [it was not] safely to be trusted with it,” Madison records, and Mason supported using “declare” as a means of “clogging rather than facilitating war [and instead] facilitating peace.”

The Trump "More Powers Act"

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