Off the Campaign Trail, Tim Kaine Again Advocates for Congress to Declare War on Islamic State

Nov 30, 2016

Now that he’s off the campaign trail and back in the Senate, Tim Kaine is returning to an old argument. 

Senator Tim Kaine is fighting a lonely battle on Capitol Hill, an argument that pits him against a Democratic president and a Republican Congress.

Kaine says that  Congress should vote to officially declare war against the Islamic State. Taking the Senate floor to make his case once again, Kaine says that’s how the system is supposed to work.

“Madison and the other drafters of the Constitution knew that the history of war was a history of making it about the executive — the king, the monarch, the sultan, the emperor. But we decided we would be different, and that war would only be initiated by a vote of the people’s elected legislative body.”

And yet that’s not happened, even though the United States has lost 28 lives and spent more than 10 billion dollars on Operation Inherent Resolve battling the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says lawmakers fear accountability. 

Credit AP Photo / Matt Rourke

“They don’t want to have voted for something that turns out not to have been very successful, and that’s why the members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans alike — have been so willing to allow presidents a much greater latitude than the founders intended.”

Kaine renewed his call this week because, he says, the start of a new administration is a good time to take another look at exercising Congress’s power to declare war.