By Jason Ditz
(ANTIWAR.COM) — On Tuesday, President Trump capped off months of effort in Congress to pass a War Powers Act challenge to the US involvement in the war in Yemen, vetoing the bill and claiming it was a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”
The bill, SJ Res 7, was a straightforward bill under the War Powers Act of 1973. The bill noted that Congress never authorized the US war in Yemen, and demanded an end to it. The US Constitution grants sole power to declare wars to the Congress, and by extension the power to order an end to illegal wars.
It is a mere accident of the way bills work that actions under the War Powers Act, designed explicitly as a check on presidential attempts to illegally seize war-making powers, can even be voted by the president. Yet SJ Res 7 won such a narrow victory in the Senate that it would be highly unlikely that an override of the veto will even be attempted.
This threatens to set a very dangerous precedent, as after decades of presidents claiming unilateral war-making powers, Yemen was the first real challenge under the War Powers Act to get any momentum. That it was wiped away with an easy veto, and little controversy, only adds to the appearance that the president has unilateral war-making powers, at least as a de facto matter, and Congressional oversight exists only on paper.