A bipartisan Senate trio is seeking to reassert Congress’ control over war authorizations and military power.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Chris Murphy of Connecticut introduced the National Security Powers Act Tuesday, hoping to clamp down on presidential war powers that have expanded in recent years under presidents of both parties.
The bill requires the president to end foreign hostilities if they are not approved by Congress 20 days after they begin and cuts off funding if a president continues to act without congressional authorization. It gives Congress authority over weapons sales and allows it to prohibit the sale of weapons at its discretion, after former President Donald Trump irked lawmakers with his repeated sales to Middle Eastern allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The House approved a resolution Wednesday to create a select committee into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol weeks after Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan commission into it.
The bill authorizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to select eight members and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to select five in consultation with her. It passed 222 to 190, with two Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in favor.
Though the bill passed with bipartisan support, it was significantly less than the 35 House Republicans who voted for the bipartisan commission in May. House Republican leadership came out against the bill Tuesday, urging its caucus to vote no on the grounds that it would “pursue a partisan agenda and politicize the Jan. 6 attack.”
Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan bill establishing a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, filibustering the first legislation since President Joe Biden took office after a multi-hour, overnight session pushed the vote back a day.
The bill failed 54 to 35, getting the support of six Republicans instead of the 10 that it needed to overcome the Senate’s 60-vote threshold required to begin debate. The bill would have established a 10-member, bipartisan commission into the Capitol riot, when pro-Trump rioters attempted to block Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led the Republican opposition, and called the bill “slanted and unbalanced” last week.