Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

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Himes leads bipartisan Reclamation of War Powers Act

March 9, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) and Walter Jones (NC-03) along with Peter Welch (VT-At-Large), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Kathleen Rice (NY-04) and Kurt Schrader (OR-05) introduced The Reclamation of War Powers Act, a bill that would explicitly return the power to declare and wage war back to Congress, as the Constitution requires.

“The power to make war is explicitly granted to Congress in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution,” said Himes.  “Over many decades, however, this power has migrated increasingly to the President. We are now in a situation where military actions are carried out by the US around the world without the explicit approval of Congress and under the auspices of Authorizations for Use of Military Force from many years ago. It’s an abrogation of Congress’s Constitutional duties and we have an obligation to take back that power on behalf of the American people. ”

“For years, Congress has abdicated its constitutional war powers to the executive branch,” said Congressman Jones. “It is time we reclaim our duties and hold debate over the decision to wage war. Our men and women in uniform deserve that at the very least.”  

“The explicit constitutional authority of Congress to declare war and authorize the use of military force has eroded,” said Congressman Welch. “Our legislation reclaims that authority consistent with the Constitution and eliminates any excuse by Congress to avoid tough votes by staying the sidelines.”  

The bill has two main provisions:

·         Congresses won’t fund the introduction of US 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.