Introduction

The Constitution divides war powers between Congress and the Executive Branch, but over time, the president’s war powers have expanded to the detriment of congressional participation and oversight. Congress is partially to blame. The War Powers Resolution (WPR), designed to curb presidential unilateralism, has largely failed. In recent years, broad authorizations like the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) have allowed presidents to conduct military operations in nearly 20 countries with little congressional scrutiny.

This R Street short argues that Congress must reassert its war powers. The best first step is to repeal outdated and irrelevant military authorizations, like the 2002 AUMF. Doing so invites the chance for a greater institutional discussion of Congress’ Article I authorities and sets the groundwork for other, more lasting reforms.

Press release: The Best First Steps to Reclaiming Congressional War Powers

Image credit: f11photo