June 22, 2023

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Dr. Paul, Reps. Roy and Davidson Reaffirm Congress’ Constitutional Authority to Declare War


WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Representatives Chip Roy (R-TX-21) and Warren Davidson (R-OH-8) introduced legislation to make it clear that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) cannot override Congress’ constitutional responsibilities to declare war.

The resolution is cosponsored by Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

“Perhaps the most important question a member of Congress will ever face is whether to commit our nation’s young men and women to war. We cannot delegate that responsibility to the president, the courts, an international body, or our allies,” said Dr. Paul. “Article 5 of the NATO treaty does not supersede the constitutional obligation that only Congress can declare war.”

“Decisions of war and peace, of life and death, are among the most serious any government makes. The framers of our Constitution knew that, and they prudently vested the power to declare war in the legislative branch — the branch of government most accountable to the American people. As war rages on in Europe, I am proud to partner with my friend Dr. Rand Paul and Rep. Warren Davidson to reaffirm the importance of the fact that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty doesn’t supersede the Constitution. No one has the power to declare war without Congress’ deliberation and our constituents’ consent; it’s high time this body conducted itself accordingly,” said Rep. Roy.

“For decades, Presidential Administrations have misconstrued laws and treaties to engage in endless wars by circumventing Congress’ role in declaring war,” said Rep. Davidson. “Only Congress can Constitutionally authorize the use of military force, and Article 5 of NATO does not supersede the Constitution.”

“This resolution affirms what can be readily found in the North Atlantic Treaty and our Constitution: that only Congress, not an international organization, holds the power to send the United States to war,” said Sen. Hawley.

“The U.S. Constitution gives the people’s representatives in Congress the power to declare war and authorize military force. NATO’s Article 5 does not nullify the supreme law of our country,” said Sen. Braun.

“The power to declare war resides with Congress, as stated in our Constitution. Our duty as representatives of the American people is to ensure that their voices are heard before committing our nation to war. Article 5 of the NATO treaty does not supersede this constitutional obligation,” said. Sen. Lee. “It is time for us to reaffirm the authority of Congress in matters of war and peace and conduct ourselves accordingly. I am proud to join forces with my colleagues to reinforce this important principle and emphasize that no bureaucrat in Brussels has the power to declare war without Congress’ deliberation and the consent of the American people.”

“The sacred and solemn duty to declare war is explicitly defined in the Constitution as that of Congress and Congress alone,” said Sen. Lummis. “America must honor our Article V commitment, but we cannot allow NATO to supersede our nation’s laws or we risk losing sight of the principles and values that make this country so special.”

This resolution reaffirms that pursuant to Article 11 of the North Atlantic Treaty, military action taken in regard to Article 5 does not supersede Congress’ role in the Constitution. The resolution states:

“It is the sense of the House of Representatives that, pursuant to Article 11 of the North Atlantic Treaty, done at Washington, District of Columbia, on April 4, 1949, if the President determines it is necessary to engage United States forces in hostilities in order to restore or maintain the security of the North Atlantic area as stated in Article 5 of such treaty, such action does not supersede the constitutional requirement that Congress declare war or authorize the use of military force prior to the United States engaging in hostilities.”

Co-sponsors of the resolution in the House of Representatives include Representatives Dan Bishop (R-NC-8), Troy Nehls (R-TX-22), Harriet Hageman (R-1-WY), Paul Gosar (R-AZ-9), Andy Biggs (R-AZ-5), Andrew Clyde (R-GA-9), Matt Rosendale (R-MT-2) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14).

The legislation also has been endorsed by Quincy Institute, Heritage Action, Frontiers of Freedom, Concerned Veterans for America, Citizens for Renewing America, and FreedomWorks.

You can find the full text to the resolution HERE, and read more about Dr. Paul’s efforts in an op-ed published by Responsible Statecraft HERE.

More support for the resolution: 

Jim Webb, Advocacy Associate for the Quincy Institute:

“Sen. Paul’s Resolution is an essential bulwark against U.S. troops being pulled into a bloody and destructive war in Europe without adequate planning and consideration. If America is to go to war, the people, through Congress, should make that decision, as the Constitution stipulates. Article 5 does not supersede the Constitution and entering into hostilities still requires Congressional authorization.”

Russ Duerstine, Executive Director of Concerned Veterans for America:

“Congress’ solemn duty to decide when American soldiers are sent into harm’s way is outlined in our Constitution. It is prudent for members of Congress to be reminded U.S. membership in NATO does not supersede that. After decades of endless war, trillions of taxpayer dollars spent, and thousands of American lives lost, Senator Paul’s bill is a strong signal to the American people that their elected representatives understand what is at stake and will not blindly or foolishly commit more troops to fight in wars not in our national interests.”

Russ Vought, President of Citizens for Renewing America:

“NATO is an organization that is increasingly out of alignment with what is best for American interests. Despite the elevated status that many members of the failed foreign policy elite give to NATO, American membership in NATO does not negate Congress’ constitutionally-mandated role of declaring war and authorizing military action abroad. Citizens for Renewing America strongly supports this resolution affirming that Congress supersedes NATO in matters of war and peace and urges all members of Congress to support this commonsense measure.”

Adam Brandon, President of FreedomWorks:

“The Constitution is very clear: only Congress has the power to declare war. The U.S. must not cede our Constitutional Republic to authoritarian rule, and this NATO War Powers Resolution will reaffirm this commitment to the American people. Congress must rein in executive authority and return to its lawmaking directive the Founding Fathers intended it to have.”

Dr. Sumantra Maitra, Senior Editor for the American Conservative and Senior Fellow for Center for Renewing America:

“Article 5’s jurisdiction and termination is debated among legal scholars and international relations theorists. And it certainly does not supersede the US Congress. The American people, above all, must decide when America risks nuclear war, and Art. 5 doesn’t automatically trigger a global war. It merely argues for collective defense. Consider that the last time Article 5 was invoked, most European states pledged support and collective defense, while only a handful actually took part in combat in Afghanistan. The same principle applies in reverse. To that cause, Senator Paul’s resolution is the correct one and conservatives should support it.”

George Landrith, President of Frontiers for Freedom:

“The United States is part of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) that was signed between the US and a number of European nations after World War II to defend Europe and the US from the Soviet Union’s aggression. The treaty still exists, but it is always important to remember that a treaty cannot and does not override the US Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land – no law or treaty can override it. So while Article 5 of the NATO Treaty may obligate the US to join in defending member nations who are attacked, the fact is, the Constitution clearly provides that the power to send America to war is placed with Congress. Sen. Paul’s NATO War Powers Resolution simply reminds America and the world of a factual reality – that our Constitution requires Congress to declare war.”


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