Washington, DC —Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) this week introduced The Reclamation of War Powers Act, a bill that would return the power to declare war back to Congress.

“According to Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, the power to make and wage war lies explicitly with Congress,” said Congressman Himes. “Over time, however, we have ceded more and more of this responsibility to the President, granting the executive branch a monumental authority that was never intended to be within its jurisdiction.

“The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to risk their lives in our nation’s defense. The determination to send them into danger deserves a thoughtful, thorough debate from Congress, rather than being decided at the whim of any given President.”

The Reclamation of War Powers Act has two 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 (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.

Congressman Himes introduced the Reclamation of War Powers Act in the 115th, 116th, and 117th Congresses. The full text of the bill is attached. For further information contact Nora Kohli at Nora.kohli@mail.house.gov.