Himes introduces Reclamation of War Powers Act

war

Congressman Jim Himes makes a point at a debate on Oct. 23, 2016. — Bryan Haeffele photo

Congressman Jim Himes (D-4th) on Monday, Dec. 5, introduced the Reclamation of War Powers Act, a bill that would explicitly return the power to declare and wage war back to Congress.

“The power to make and execute war is explicitly granted to Congress in article I section 8 of the Constitution,” Himes said in a statement. “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 nor Congress is ultimately responsible. That has to end. It’s Congress’s right. It’s Congress’s duty.”

The bill has three main provisions:

  • Congresses 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 (Section 3).
  • When requesting a declaration of war or Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), 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 (Section 4).
  • Prior Authorizations for Use of Military Force, including the AUMFs for Iraq and Afghanistan will be repealed 180 days after enactment of this bill (Section 5).

A press release from Himes’ office said 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 our country’s NATO experience.

“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.”

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3 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Rep. Himes, you propose this at a time of administration change instead of when your party’s President Obama made Florida-based remote control, push-button war using drones? Ask those dead people if your timing now makes Common Sense…that hundreds of members of joint Congress must agree before allowing this new President use of Obama’s personal remote control.

    Your idea is made for TV. Put away the remote for two years, please.

    • @Thomas Paine Today – If I understand your reasoning correctly, a bad idea, originally put forth by President Bush, should be retained because it wasn’t put out of its misery during the Obama administrations. Are you saying a mistake by Congress should never be rectified unless a Democrat is President? Are you saying Himes is a hypocrite? Are you saying you think the Founding Fathers made a mistake by not giving the power to declare war to the President? Are you saying you want Congress and the President to disregard the Constitution whenever it suits them?

      What ARE you saying?

      • The WPA is a bad idea. Bush did it to get a jump post 911 to try to save lives and get the enemy asap. Historically, if FDR had it pre-WW2 he wouldn’t have had to wait for an isolationist congress to be ready to help Britain against the Nazis. But he waited, which was constitutional. If he had WPA then perhaps 100’s of thousands wouldn’t have died before the USA entered – triggered only by Pearl Harbor.

        Obama used it against terrorists in Afgan. and against ISIS. He refused to name this enemy which would have enabled congress to weigh its constitutional right to vote a state of war. By this, one might argue that Obama and the democrats chose to protect the WPA.

        I question only Rep Himes timing. We didn’t hear him put this in his campaign platform. We didn’t hear congressional Democrats pursue elimination of WPA during their administration.

        When Common Sense is lacking around something so obvious or unconstitutional it points to self-serving motives. In this instance it points to simply making news for Rep. Himes.

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