WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) 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.  “But, in recent years, Congress has given up more and more of this responsibility, imbuing the President with powers the Constitution never intended.  I raised this issue under Presidents Obama and Trump and now under President Biden. This is not a partisan concern.

“Sending the brave men and women of our armed services to fight and die on foreign shores is the most consequential decision we face, and one that should be made by the direct representatives of the people and families making the sacrifice. The Reclamation of War Powers Act returns power to the Congress as intended.  It is an absolutely necessary check on the power of the executive branch.”   

The Reclamation of War Powers Act has two main provisions:

  • Congress 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.

The full text of the bill is attached. Contact Patrick Malone at Patrick.malone@mail.house.gov with any questions or to schedule an interview.