Rep. Peter DeFazio Re-Introduces War Powers Legislation to Reaffirm Congress’s Constitutional Authority
Following reports that President Trump is considering military action in Iran, Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today introduced the War Powers Amendments of 2019, H.J. Res 66, comprehensive legislation that clarifies under the Constitution that President Trump must seek congressional authorization prior to sending U.S. troops into combat. The legislation would also require any future president to consult with Congress before sending American forces into conflicts.
“It would be an outrageous violation of our Constitution if President Trump sent troops into Iran without asking for authorization from Congress,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “I have repeatedly called on President Trump, just as I have with past presidents, to respect Congress’s power to declare war and consult with Congress before committing troops to any military conflict, as laid out in Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The American people deserve to know the full scope of any potential conflict—including an exit strategy—before the U.S. considers another military campaign in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.”
The bill provides the President an exception in the case of an immediate threat to the United States, its troops, or its citizens overseas. In addition, it would give any member of Congress the right to sue the Executive Branch if it does not comply with the bill’s provisions.
Although the U.S. Constitution grants Congress, not the executive branch, the power to declare war, the war powers of the legislative branch have eroded over time. For the last fifty years, many presidents of both parties have unlawfully exerted sole authority to commit U.S. forces to armed conflict overseas.
A recognized watchdog of Congress’s power to declare war, Rep. DeFazio has repeatedly introduced similar legislation throughout his tenure in Congress.