Himes backs new controls on war
Congressman Jim Himes, who represents Trumbull, has introduced the Reclamation of War Powers Act, a bill that would explicitly return the power to declare and wage war to Congress, as the Constitution requires.
“The power to make and execute war is explicitly granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution,” said Himes. “In the years following 9/11, however, we have ceded that power more and more to the president, to the point where, now, we operate in state of perpetual pseudo-war where neither the executive or Congress is ultimately responsible. That has to end. It’s Congress’s right. It’s Congress’s duty.”
The bill has three main provisions:
- Congress won’t fund the introduction of U.S. armed forces into hostilities without a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack or imminent threat of attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or the armed forces.
- When requesting a declaration of war or authorization for use of military force, the president must issue a report outlining the threat faced, the objectives and justifications of the conflict and a description of the anticipated scope and duration of the action.
- Prior authorizations for use of military force, including for Iraq and Afghanistan, will be repealed 180 days after enactment of this bill.
Several comments from President-elect Donald Trump have raised concern about the scope and circumstances in which the armed forces will be used in the future, especially with regard to the conflict with ISIS and honoring the country’s NATO commitment, Himes said.
“Donald Trump has no foreign policy experience, has signaled to the world that he plans to use his unpredictability as a deterrent and claims to have a secret plan to defeat ISIS,” Himes said. “Congress should have reasserted its war-making authority a long time ago, and I have voted to make that happen even under President Obama, but it’s more important to do it now that we’re going to have such a volatile president in the White House. Putting our soldiers’ lives at risk is an incredibly important and serious decision, and the Constitution has wisely determined that decision shouldn’t be left in the hands of a single individual, whoever that may be.”