Sen. Lee: Is ‘Declaration of War' or 'Authorization for Military Force' Needed to Continue Giving Weapons to Ukraine?

(CNSNews.com) – In a series of tweets from his alternate Twitter account, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) asked, among other things, if the continued supply of weapons to Ukraine to be used against hostile Russian forces requires a “declaration of war or a congressional authorization for the use of military force.”

On Jan. 30, Lee, from his account @BasedMikeLee, tweeted, “When supplying weapons to a nation at war with a nuclear-armed adversary, at what point will that adversary consider itself to be at war with the United States?” 

This tweet was in reference to a separate tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) that said, “deploying offensive weapons against a nuclear power is a terrible idea,” which was in reference to news that U.S. military officials are “quietly” advocating for the shipment of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.                                            

Lee replied to his initial tweet with the following three posts:

— “To what degree should that consideration matter to us? And at what point is a declaration of war (or an authorization for the use of military force) required?”

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— “Should the inquiry focus on whether the weapons we’re supplying are offensive or defensive in nature? If so, what qualifies as ‘offensive’? If that’s not the standard, what should be?”                                 

— “Also, do you agree with the premise that the United States should be especially cautious when supplying weapons to a nation at war with a nuclear power? If not, why?”

Lee followed up with the following series of tweets:

— “Given that (1) we’re giving Ukraine weapons to use against Russia, (2) Russia has an abundance of nukes, and (3) Russia is increasingly expressing hostility toward us, at what point should we worry that our arms deliveries might prompt Russia to attack us?”

— “Is there any point at which the War Powers Act could be triggered by our delivery of weapons to Ukraine?”                 

— “Should the answer to the first two questions determine whether a declaration of war or a congressional authorization for the use of military force is necessary for the U.S. to continue giving weapons to use against an increasingly hostile Russia?”

— “Note: the foregoing questions are not directed at the ultimate policy question: whether or in what ways the U.S. should help Ukraine. There are many arguments both for and against such assistance. But the predicate questions I ask here should be answered separately.”                             

The War Powers Act, which was passed by Congress on Nov. 7, 1973, requires the president to seek congressional approval before sending U.S. forces to get involved in overseas conflicts. While no U.S. troops have been officially deployed to Ukraine, the Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed that some U.S. troops are present in Ukraine apparently to oversee the delivery of DoD equipment. 

                              

Additionally, as CNS News has reported, the United States has provided Ukraine with $27.1 billion in “security assistance” since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. This total only reflects the estimated value of weapons that the U.S. has provided thus far and does not include the other forms of aid and economic assistance the U.S. has provided Ukraine.

Senator Lee has been using his alternative account @BasedMikeLee to share his thoughts on current events and ongoing discussions since July 2022.

Amid reports that the United States was considering sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, President Joe Biden told reporters on Jan. 30 that he will not be sending them at the moment.

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