Senators are ready to pack their bags and leave the city before the hot, swampy weather in Washington becomes unbearable. But of course not before they demean themselves and disappoint their voters one last time – by rejecting an amendment that would have prevented an unauthorized and unconstitutional war with Iran, as they did on Friday.
The cross-party amendment, sponsored by Sens. Tom Udall, Tim Kaine, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, was small, sweet, and appropriate at a time when the US and Iran seemed to be just minutes away from direct conflict. The language was as clear as it is today: "No means authorized under this Act may be used to conduct hostilities against the Iranian Government, the Iranian Armed Forces, or on Iranian territory." President Trump (or a future president) felt that military action was a necessity for defending US interests. He must first do what the Constitution clearly foresees: to stand up for Congress and obtain the approval of our elected representatives. In order to avoid any concerns that the president might bind his hands in exceptional circumstances, Trump was able to react militarily when US forces were attacked.
Republican Senators such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chairman of the Force Committee James Inhofe and Marco Rubio argued before the vote that the amendment was dangerous, unnecessary and counterproductive. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Who would probably have invaded Iran by sitting in the Oval Office, made the ridiculous assertion that the reaffirmation of the war powers of Congress "embodies indecision and weakness."  But if there is a weakness here, then on the shoulders of those who have rejected the measure and apparently are perfectly in order to equip the president with monarchical war powers. George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, and the rest of the founding fathers obviously saw things differently. They realized that making a country war was far too important a decision.
And in the Udall there was nothing -Kaine change that was unconstitutional or unreasonable. In fact, the language already corresponded to what Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, stipulates in black and white: It is the legislature, not the executive, that decides when the country will go to war. And of course, if the US is attacked, the president reserves the right to fight back for self-defense without first going to the congress.
Paradoxically, the Senate today voted against the declaration of war, the most important provision in the country's most important document. As the executive finds ever wiser ways to expand its power, the senators have decided to negate their own, rather than fight to preserve it. And they should be ashamed of that.
Daniel DePetris ( @DanDePetris ) is a staff member of Washington Examiner – blog's Beltway Confidential. His opinions are his own.