FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 26, 2023
Contact: Press_Paul@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
Dr. Rand Paul Forces Senate Vote on Niger War Powers Resolution
Republicans and Democrats Vote to Keep U.S. Troops in Niger Amidst Military Coup, Further Involving America in Another Foreign Conflict
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as a continuation of his efforts to restore Congress’s Constitutional war powers and to address the deteriorating political situation that poses increased risk to U.S. troops in Niger, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) forced the U.S. Senate to vote on his resolution (S.J.Res.44) directing the President to remove all U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in Niger within 30 days of its enactment.
Dr. Paul’s resolution was supported by a bipartisan group of 11 Senators, including Dr. Paul. Meanwhile, 86 Senate Republicans and Democrats voted against the removal of U.S. troops in Niger amidst a military coup, further involving America in another foreign conflict. You can see the full vote tally HERE.
Below are excerpts from Dr. Paul’s prepared floor remarks:
“It should not go unnoticed that Congress never voted to send troops to Niger in the first place.
“Presidents of both parties have used the September 11th, 2001, authorization to justify wars in dozens of countries, from Afghanistan, to Libya, to Syria, to Somalia, to Yemen.
“Niger is but one of the over 20 countries that the United States conducts military operations in, supposedly justified by the 9/11 authorization of military force.
“The impetus for this war powers resolution is the July 26th coup in which members of Niger’s presidential guard, including some officers who were trained by the United States, removed the democratically-elected President, Mohamed Bazoum, from power.
“The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, an organization of 15 countries, declared its intention to intervene militarily if President Bazoum is not restored to power.
“In September, Mali and Burkina Faso, two countries that experienced their own armed-coups in recent years, signed a mutual defense pact with Niger and stated they will fight on behalf of the new military junta if the Economic Community of West African States invades.
“Niger’s new leaders have put its military on maximum alert citing an increased threat of attack. For its part, the Economic Community of West African States imposed sanctions, instituted a no-fly zone, and closed border crossings. Recent reports indicate that Nigerien troops have been deployed along the border with Benin.
“The Sahel is a powder keg and we have over 1,000 U.S. military personnel sitting in the middle of it.
“American forces face a very real risk of being caught in the crossfire of a regional African war.
“What are we doing in Niger? As I mentioned earlier, Congress never voted to send troops there. Congress certainly never authorized the use of military force there. Yet, on multiple occasions, U.S. forces in Niger have engaged in firefights with hostile groups. And sadly, American lives have been lost.”
“To commit America’s military to fight wars on behalf of the nation is the most consequential and humbling responsibility that Congress is entrusted with.
“Can we not, at the very least, muster the courage to debate? If America’s interest in Niger is of such vital importance that we ask our young men and women to fight and potentially pay the ultimate sacrifice to defend it, we at least owe our servicemembers a debate in Congress.
“A yes vote on this resolution gives each of us an opportunity to go on the record and tell our constituents that we will no longer stand idly by as the President sends their sons and daughters into harm’s way, to fight wars with no clear objective, with no definition of victory, with no exit strategy, and with no constitutional authorization.”
Dr. Paul’s War Powers Resolution received support from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Heritage Action for America, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Just Foreign Policy, Defense Priorities Initiative, Frontiers of Freedom, Center for Renewing America, The American Conservative, Concerned Veterans for America, and Demand Progress Action. The resolution was also cosponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).
Recently, Dr. Paul sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding answers regarding U.S. troops deployed in Niger. The U.S. military has been present in Niger for about a decade, with the aim of providing training, guidance, and assistance to Nigerian forces. However, Moussa Salaou Barmou, who had received training from the U.S., was part of the group that carried out a coup that overthrew the democratically elected government on July 26, 2023.
Dr. Paul has consistently fought to return and keep war powers in Congress as our Founding Fathers intended. In March, the Senate took a step in the right direction and repealed the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. Dr. Paul introduced an amendment to the effort that would have additionally repealed the 2001 AUMF – the final vote tally of his amendment was 9-86.