On Wednesday, the Senate voted on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have made clear that only Congress can declare war despite Article 5 of the NATO agreement.
Article 5 says that an attack on any NATO nation means every member country must join to defend it.
Paul wanted to clarify that NATO doesn’t supercede Congress’s constitutional war powers.
The amendment needed 60 votes to pass. It was defeated in a final vote of 83 to 16.
“Article 5 does not supersede Congress’s responsibility to declare war,” Paul said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
He added “I think it should be an easy vote to affirm the Constitution. To vote against affirming the Constitution actually places doubt in the Constitution.”
The 16 who voted with Paul for his amendment, all Republicans, were Sens. Mike Braun, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Bill Hagerty, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Mike Lee, Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, Marco Rubio, Eric Schmitt, Tommy Tuberville and J.D. Vance.
If you don’t see your senator’s name there, with the exception of Sen. John Barasso who did not vote, he or she voted against clarifying that Congress’s constitutional powers take precedence over Article 5 of the NATO treaty.
“The power to declare war is the most important power, the most important vote that any legislator will ever entertain,” Paul said on the floor.
Paul chided his colleagues for not taking more responsibility for the senatorial duties when it comes to war.
“Why is this important? Because in 2001 people voted to go to war and this body still thinks that that vote binds us to war with no further vote,” the senator said.
“We do need to reaffirm the power and the necessity of declaring war, because we are ignoring it by continuing to be involved in military activity and war around the globe without ever voting on it as we are mandated by the Constitution,” Paul ended.