Conservatives in Congress are floating a new push to prevent “endless wars” with a resolution aiming to clarify a longstanding U.S. treaty.
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy is leading a House resolution on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agreement to serve as a reminder that any armed conflict would need congressional approval.
Under Article 5 of the 1949 NATO treaty, members of the agreement are obliged to defend any allied nation under attack. However, Roy’s resolution says in the event Article 5 is invoked, the president would still need congressional approval to enter an armed conflict.
“Decisions of war and peace, of life and death, are among the most serious any government makes,” Roy told Fox News Digital. “The framers of our Constitution knew that, and they prudently vested the power to declare war in the legislative branch — the branch of government most accountable to the American people.”
“No one has the power to declare war without Congress’ deliberation and our constituents’ consent; it’s high time this body conducted itself accordingly,” Roy said.
Conservatives are divided in how involved America should be in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia, which began with an invasion of Ukrainian territory in 2022. Ukraine is not an ally, but some conservatives fear U.S. involvement becoming another protracted and expensive overseas conflict. Most of the GOP is strongly supportive of NATO, however, and it is uncertain how far Roy’s measure might advance in the Republican-controlled House.
Roy introduced the resolution with his colleagues Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., noting that it comes as “war rages on in Europe.”
“For decades, presidential administrations have misconstrued laws and treaties to engage in endless wars by circumventing Congress’ role in declaring war,” Davidson told Fox News Digital. “Only Congress can constitutionally authorize the use of military force, and Article 5 of NATO does not supersede the Constitution.”
Paul told Fox News Digital that perhaps “the most important question a member of Congress will ever face is whether to commit our nation’s young men and women to war.”
“We cannot delegate that responsibility to the president, the courts, an international body, or our allies,” Paul said. “Article 5 of the NATO treaty does not supersede the constitutional obligation that only Congress can declare war.”
Joining on the House resolution are GOP Reps. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Troy Nehls of Texas, Harriett Hageman of Wyoming, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona, Andrew Clyde and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Matt Rosendale of Montana.
In the Senate, GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming are joining Paul in the Senate push.
Additionally, the resolution is seeing support from a constellation of conservative political groups, including Citizens for Renewing America (CRA), Concerned Veterans for America, FreedomWorks and Heritage Action.
“The U.S. must not cede our Constitutional Republic to authoritarian rule, and this NATO War Powers Resolution will reaffirm this commitment to the American people,” FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon said. “Congress must rein in executive authority and return to its lawmaking directive the Founding Fathers intended it to have.”
Some Republicans have grown wary of NATO in recent years, though the bulk of the party supports the alliance. In April 2022, 63 Republican House members voted against a symbolic resolution affirming support for NATO amid the Ukraine war.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said after the 2022 resolution supporting NATO, that support for the treaty was strong and “always has been.”
“NATO is in the process of defending themselves but the one thing we need to make sure is NATO countries spend the money — more than 2%,” he said.
Roy and Paul’s resolution is further sign that segments of the conservative side of the aisle are dissatisfied with the treaty.
“NATO is an organization that is increasingly out of alignment with what is best for American interests,” CRA president Russ Vought told Fox News Digital. “Despite the elevated status that many members of the failed foreign policy elite give to NATO, American membership in NATO does not negate Congress’ constitutionally-mandated role of declaring war and authorizing military action abroad.”