Senators Scott, Wicker, Cotton: President Biden has Authority to Use Military Force to Secure Release of American Hostages in Gaza

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced a resolution to highlight that the president has the authority—under Article II of the Constitution—to use military force to secure the release of American hostages in Gaza and to urge President Biden to use that authority. To date, at least six American hostages remain in Gaza, where Hamas continues to use innocent civilians as human shields. The resolution is cosponsored by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

“On October 7, 2023, the world watched as Hamas inflicted unspeakable acts of terror against Israel and took over 200 people hostage, including at least six American citizens who remain in terrorist captivity,” Senator Scott said. “Their families deserve action. The president has the authority—and the responsibility—to consider the use of all appropriate tools at his disposal to secure their safe release. It is past time to bring them all home.”

“The commander-in-chief should understand that he has every tool at his disposal to bring our citizens home,” Senator Wicker said. “Senate Republicans will continue to push the President to show the requisite resolve against barbaric terrorists and protect the American people.” 

“We have a duty to act and take the necessary steps to protect American hostages,” Senator Cotton said. “Our military has special operations forces trained in hostage rescue, and it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to use every capability we possess to ensure the safety of the Americans being held by Hamas or any other group.”


Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, carried out a coordinated series of surprise terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023. During the attacks, Hamas brutally claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, including Americans, and took an estimated 240 people hostage. Today, Hamas continues to hold approximately 130 people hostage in Gaza, including at least six United States citizens.

Article II of the Constitution empowers the president, as commander-in-chief, to direct the use of military force in self-defense, including the defense of United States citizens.

Senator Scott has long supported Israel as the United States’ most important ally and strategic partner in the Middle East. Since the brutal attacks of October 7, the senator has continued to stand with the people of Israel as they fight for their security and combat the terrorist threat from Hamas. Last year, Senator Scott convened a meeting with Hamas’ victims and their families to hear first-hand about the brutality inflicted by Hamas on innocent civilians, including children.

Senator Scott has publicly called for the release of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas, and has taken action to oppose dangerous policies that promote the capture of U.S. citizens abroad. Before and after the October 7 attack, he led dozens of Republican senators in holding the administration to account for its misguided Iran policy that incentivizes hostage-taking. As Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, he also introduced the Revoke Iranian Funding Act to permanently freeze the $6 billion released by the Biden administration to Iran last summer, and direct the Treasury Secretary to provide an accounting of all high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently blocked by U.S. sanctions.