WASHINGTON (January 27, 2021)—The continued minimization of Congress’s institutional role leads to an out-of-balance reliance on other parts of our government. In a new policy study, R Street resident fellow of governance, Anthony Marcum, argues that issues such as national emergencies, war powers, arms sales and defense spending are well within Congress’s purview and all areas where the Executive Branch has enjoyed outsized control.

The last Congress discussed and introduced multiple pieces of legislation to reign in these Executive powers, such as amending the National Emergencies Act and War Powers Resolution; revising the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs); and placing more controls on Pentagon spending and arms sales. Encouragingly, each plan was bipartisan, which offers a hopeful forecast for the 117th Congress.

“Gridlock, partisan rhetoric and last-minute emergency bills often appear as the hallmarks of Congress. But now and then, it is prudent to see the glass as half full. For all the drama in the 116th Congress, the First Branch took serious and substantive steps to reclaim several of its wartime and emergency authorities,” said Marcum.

Read the full study, “Steps Congress Can Take to Reassert its War, Spending and Emergency Powers in the 117th Congress,” here.