WASHINGTON — The US Senate on Tuesday easily defeated a symbolic measure formally declaring an end to the war in Iraq, roughly one month before US forces are due to leave the strife-torn country.
Republican Senator Rand Paul’s proposal, an amendment to a $662 billion annual military spending bill, failed in a 30-67 vote.
The senator tied the measure to Libya, accusing President Barack Obama of circumventing the US Constitution by committing US forces to the conflict there without an explicit authorization from the US Congress.
“This year we have seen the president commit our armed forces to combat, while Congress has been ignored or remained silent. No present or future administration should be given an indefinite blank check to conduct military operations in Iraq by Congress,” Paul said in a speech before the vote.
“Congress must reclaim its constitutional authority over the decision to go to war, or to end a war — it is one of the body’s most important powers,” he added.
But Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Democrat who voted against authorizing the use of military force against Iraq in 2002, warned that Paul’s resolution could tie US commanders’ hands.
“I just am unwilling to take this risk during the critical transition period,” said Levin. “There are just too many unknown, uncertain consequences.”