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article imageCommission Recommends Revision Of War Powers Act

By Sadiq Green     Jul 9, 2008 in Politics
During the Korean and Vietnam wars, the United States found itself involved for many years in intense conflict without a declaration of war.
Many members of Congress became shagrined with the erosion of congressional authority to decide when the United States should become involved in a war or the use of armed forces that might lead to war.
On November 7, 1973 the United States Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (Pub. L.93-148). It states that the President of The United States of America can send troops into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States of America is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Act requires that the president notify Congress within 48 hours of committing troops to military action and forbids troops from remaining for more than 60 days without an authorization of force or a decleration of War.
The War Powers Resolution has been controversial since it’s inception,and every President since its passage –Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton - has asserted that it is unconstitutional. At the same time, every President up to and including current President George W. Bush, has complied with its terms, while using it enforce one military policy or other during their respective administrations.
In addition, since being passed into law, Presidents have submitted 118 reports to Congress as a result of the War Powers Resolution, although only one, the 1974 Mayaguez Stuation under Gerald Ford, cited Section 4(a)(1) or specifically stated that forces had been introduced into hostilities or imminent danger.
In lieu of the aforementioned controversies and likely spurred on by the disastrous Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (P.L. 107-243), in October 2002, The Miller Center of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, impaneled the National War Powers Commission in February 2007. This panel was co-chaired by former Secretaries of State James A. Baker, III and Warren Christopher, The bipartisan commission met seven times, interviewing more than 40 witnesses about the respective war powers of the president and Congress.
After 13 months of study, the Commission concluded that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 has failed to promote cooperation between the two branches of government and recommended that Congress pass a new statute – the War Powers Consultation Act of 2009 – that would establish a clear process on decisions to go to war.
The panel acknowledges that these new War Powers recommendations would have to take place under the new Presidential administration of either Barack Obama or John McCain.
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