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  • Prior Authorizations for Use of Military Force, including the AUMFs for Iraq and Afghanistan will be repealed 180 days after enactment of this bill (Section 5).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.

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