September 9, 2013 |
As Congress considers authorizing punitive strikes against Syria, it can say yes, it can say no, but it better say something or it will forfeit its claim to war powers. Most of the time since the passage of the 1973 War Powers Act, Congress has largely punted when presidents undertook major military operations. Members preferred to sit back, applauding successes and criticizing setbacks. Lawmakers complained about not being consulted, then voted for "support for the troops," but they rarely reconciled their differences before sending a law to the White House.
June 24, 2011 |
The House of Representatives refused to either endorse or curtail U.S. involvement in Libya, delivering a mixed message Friday that highlighted deep divisions surrounding the issue. By an overwhelming margin, lawmakers refused to sanction U.S. participation in a NATO campaign of airstrikes in the North African country, a vote that amounted to a rare, bipartisan rebuke of a president's foreign policy during an active military conflict. Minutes later, however, a Republican-led effort to try to curb financial support for U.S. involvement also failed.
October 4, 1987
Following President Reagan's refusal to invoke the War Powers Act after U.S. helicopters stalked and attacked an Iranian mine-laying vessel, it would appear that this Administration divides laws into two classes: those it agrees with and insists must be followed to the letter, and "technicalities" to be ignored. CAREY SUBLETTE Riverside
April 12, 1986 |
Republicans disclosed Friday that they are drafting legislation to give President Reagan full authority to use U.S. military forces to mount a global counterattack against terrorism for an unlimited period without seeking the approval of Congress.
June 29, 2011 |
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution Tuesday authorizing U.S. involvement in the NATO-led mission in Libya, a small step forward in a stubborn legal stalemate between Congress and the White House over the war. If adopted by both chambers of Congress, the resolution would permit U.S. involvement for up to one year, but would restrict any expansion of the nation's role. Four Republican members of the committee joined the Democratic majority to pass the measure on a 14-5 vote.
June 3, 2011 |
The House on Friday voted to require President Obama to swiftly report to Congress on the rationale for continued U.S. military engagement in Libya, launching a potential showdown over federal funding for the NATO-led operation. The House voted 268-145 for the resolution that also said the administration has failed to make the case for military action in support of rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, as required by the authority of the War Powers Act. By bringing the resolution forward, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
June 20, 2011 |
House Speaker John Boehner and the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate are now inadvertently sharing talking points on President Obama stance on Libya, both saying it doesn't pass the "straight-face test. " The unusually aligned rhetoric between Boehner, a Republican, and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the majority whip, offers another sign of the emerging bipartisan alliance against the White House's reluctance to seek congressional approval for the military operation under the War Powers Act. "It just doesn't pass the straight face test, in my view, that we're not in the midst of hostilities," Boehner said last week about the White House assessment that the aerial bombings underway by the U.S. military as part of the NATO-led operation do not constitute hostilities under the act. Durbin, on Sunday's "Meet the Press," said similarly: "It doesn't pass a straight-face test in my view that we're not in the midst of hostilities.
April 16, 1986 |
Although lawmakers generally expressed support Tuesday for President Reagan's strike on Tripoli, the episode has left an anxious Congress groping for its proper role in what amounts to a totally new kind of warfare for the United States. "It's a war, and yet not a war in the sense we've known it," House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) said. "Congress is going to have to get into the act at some point. . . . We're plowing new ground here, and you have to think: 'Hey, what comes next?'