Trump, Iran and the ambiguous balance of the US declaring war



January 10, 2020 - 10:23 AM

Surrounded by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Donald Trump delivers a statement in response to Iran firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops. (Pete Marovich/Abaca Press/TNS)

It was June 2011, and John Boehner was mad.

The House speaker told President Barack Obama that he would violate the War Powers Act if he didn’t seek congressional authorization to extend American military involvement in Libya. Obama had joined the NATO-led coalition in March, and the War Powers Act requires authorization after 90 days at the most.

Boehner previously had expressed skepticism of the War Powers Act, which Congress passed in 1973 over Richard Nixon’s veto. Nine years ago, however, the restive GOP House caucus demanded that Boehner send that letter to Obama.

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