Democrats want a law to stop Trump from
bombing North Korea
Send a link to a friend
[November 01, 2017]
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S.
senators introduced a bill on Tuesday they said would prevent President
Donald Trump from launching a nuclear first strike on North Korea on his
own, highlighting the issue days before the Republican's first
presidential trip to Asia.
The measure would stop Trump, or any U.S. president, from launching an
attack on North Korea, or spending any money on a military strike,
without congressional approval, unless North Korea has first attacked
the United States.
Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have been building after a
series of nuclear and missile tests by North Korea and bellicose verbal
exchanges between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The CIA has said North Korea could be only months away from developing
the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon, a scenario
Trump has vowed to prevent.
"I worry that the president's enthusiasm will not be checked by the
advisers around him," Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, the legislation's
lead sponsor, told reporters on a conference call.
Some Republicans have also expressed concern about Trump's rhetoric, but
none co-sponsored the bill, which is backed by seven Democrats and
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent.
Republicans control majorities in both the Senate and House, and there
has been no indication that congressional leaders would allow a vote.
Similar measures introduced earlier this year have also failed to
However, backers said they might try to pass it later this year by
introducing it as an amendment to legislation such as a as a must-pass
[to top of second column]
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12
missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean
Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS
"I have confidence that if this came to a vote on the floor of the
Senate, it would prevail," Murphy said.
Lawmakers have been trying to take back more control over foreign
policy from the White House.
Congress passed a bill in July barring the president from lifting
sanctions on Russia without lawmakers' approval, and the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee on Monday held a hearing on a new
authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, to exert some
authority over the campaign against Islamic State and other militant
At that hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of
Defense Jim Mattis said Trump does not have the authority to use
force against North Korea without an imminent threat, but they did
not define what such a threat would be.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.