Biden Sees Broader War Powers As President Than As Senator

Biden Sees Broader War Powers As President Than As Senator

According to the president, he may command specific military actions without congressional authorization. Donald J. Trump joined the majority of G.O.P. presidential contenders in declining to respond to a question on executive authority.

The president’s responses revealed how his perspective on executive authority has changed as he has served as president and vice president.
In the event that he is re-elected, President Biden promised that he would seek congressional authorization before starting any large wars, but he also said that he felt he had the authority “to direct limited U.S. military operations abroad” without such authorization where such actions benefited vital American interests.

In response to a New York Times poll of presidential candidates regarding executive power, he wrote, “As president, I have taken great care to ensure that military actions carried out under my command comply with this constitutional framework and that my administration consults with Congress to the greatest extent possible.”

“I will rigorously apply this framework to any potential actions in the future,” he said.

In 2007, when he was also vying for president, he responded differently and took a more constrained stance, saying: “The Constitution is clear: Except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force.”

The scope and limits of a president’s power to act unilaterally or in defiance of laws, particularly in war, secrecy, and law enforcement, were among the questions The New York Times asked major presidential candidates in the survey. These are topics that can be crucial to the outcome of policy debates but are rarely raised.
The responses from Mr. Biden demonstrated how his perspective on presidential authority changed over the course of his time in the White House—eight as Barack Obama’s vice president and now almost three as president.

The Biden Presidency Impeachment Case: In an effort to please far-right conservatives who have threatened to remove the House speaker if he does not agree to their demands for significant expenditure cutbacks, Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched an impeachment investigation against President Biden.
A Show of Vigor: The president and his staff are attempting to reassure voters about his age ahead of the 2024 presidential race despite poor popularity ratings and unsteady public appearances.

In September, Biden made a quick trip to Asia with a diplomatic agenda. He also wanted to demonstrate that he was still capable of handling the demands of traveling statesmanship.
Only a small number of Republican contenders for the nomination participated in the poll, including former vice president Mike Pence, former governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez before he abruptly stopped his candidacy late last month.

Entrepreneur and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy only responded to around half of the 14 questions, while former president Donald J. Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, among others, choose not to take part at all.

Participants’ responses, including those of Mr. Biden and two of his Democratic rivals, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson, have been published in full by The Times.

Notably, according to Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School and a former senior Justice Department attorney in the Bush administration, Mr. Biden rejected the idea of restricting the emergency powers Congress passed that presidents can use if they declare there to be exigent circumstances, according to Mr. Biden.

Invoking emergency powers allowed Mr. Trump to spend more on a border wall than legislators were prepared to authorize, and it allowed the Biden administration to forgo more than $400 million in student debt. (Over the summer, the Supreme Court rejected the plan.) New restrictions are being proposed by both parties in Congress, such as requiring that national emergencies end after 30 days unless legislators approve a presidential proclamation.

Instead of responding directly to the question of whether he would sign such a law, Mr. Biden made a general statement about “working with Congress on devising sensible solutions to the challenges we face as a nation.” He continued by saying he will utilize all of the resources at his disposal to deal with crises.

According to Professor Goldsmith, “if Biden is not open to reform—and his response was as evasive as he could be without saying he was not open to it—then it is likely dead on arrival.”

Every candidate who responded to the survey’s question on pardons said that a president cannot pardon himself. Mr. Trump said that he was legally entitled to do so while in office, although that constitutional assertion is unclear and unproven. Even if he is now charged with crimes in two federal cases, it may become significant if he wins the 2024 election.

Donald J. Trump, a former president, said that he was legally entitled to grant himself a pardon.
as Mr. Trump chose not to take part in the poll, many of its questions related to contested claims of executive authority he made as president, and he and his supporters are openly preparing to increase his control over the legislative and executive branches of government if he is elected in 2024. As governor of Florida, Mr. DeSantis has also promoted a broad view of executive authority.

The failure of the two men and the majority of other G.O.P. candidates to respond to questions from voters about the powers they want reflects a party change that arose in the 2016 primary, which Mr. Trump upended by overtaking establishment candidates to become the front-runner.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Chris Christie, a former governor of New Jersey, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, and Will Hurd, a former congressman from Texas, were among the other Republican candidates for president in the current primary election who failed to respond to the questions.

The eventual nominees of the party, John McCain and Mitt Romney, were among the prominent Republican primary contenders who were open to answering questions in both 2007 and 2011.
17 Democrats who were seeking for their party’s nomination to oppose Mr. Trump took part in the experiment four years ago. Mr. Biden was one of them, making this cycle his third time contributing responses. (His willingness to do so while running for re-election contrasted with Mr. Obama’s decision to refuse in 2011 as an incumbent).

In 2019, Mr. Biden had already begun to embrace the idea that presidents have broader constitutional authority to conduct limited attacks on other countries without congressional authorization, so long as it doesn’t amount to full-scale war. This idea has been adopted by the executive branch under administrations of both parties.

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden utilized military force unilaterally while serving as president, asserting their purported constitutional power to do so. Mr. Trump ordered attacks against Syrian government troops in April 2017 and again in April 2018, while Mr. Biden ordered airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia groups in Syria in June 2021 and August 2022.

The president has a constitutional obligation to utilize his executive power to defend the nation against immediate dangers, according to Mr. Pence, who was vice president at the time of Mr. Trump’s attacks. The president must be a person of character, experience, and skill whose judgment the American people can trust since determining whether a danger is immediate requires judgment.
Of course, just because candidates promise to adhere to a limit when running for office does not guarantee that they will do so in office. However, examining and drawing attention to any divergence from what they informed voters may be done by looking at their legal policy declarations.

For instance, Mr. Biden said in 2019 that if elected, he would ask the Justice Department to examine and perhaps rewrite a legal policy document that states that the president in office is not immediately subject to prosecution. Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel looking into the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia and Mr. Trump’s efforts to obstruct that investigation, was severely constrained by the department’s reading of the Constitution.

But Mr. Biden never kept his word on that promise. Since Robert Hur, a special counsel, is looking into how certain sensitive materials ended up in his hands after he departed the vice president, he is now shielded by the Justice Department’s theory.

This time, Mr. Biden avoided addressing that subject in his survey responses in favor of making a generalization about the independence of the Justice Department.
As president, I’ve carried out my campaign commitment to rebuild a strong, independent Department of Justice run by outstanding lawyers committed to upholding the principle of equal justice under the law, he said. This proves that no one is above the law, particularly the US president.

Saurabh Gupta

Saurabh Gupta is the Content Writer and Founder of, A blogging website that helps reader by providing News, Article on Educational topics in both language Hindi And English. He is from Anuppur district, Madhya Pradesh, India.

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