War Powers: The President, the Congress, and the Question of War

By Donald L. Westerfield | Go to book overview

Gingrich's or Representative Henry Hyde's efforts to repeal the War Powers Resolution. The repeal attempt failed in the House by a vote of 201 ayes, 217 nays, and 17 not voting.

Representative David Funderburk (R-N.C.), on the floor of the House of Representatives, placed the War Powers Resolution in context in an interesting manner by stating, 27

The conflict between congressional and Presidential war powers is as old as the Constitution. But, until the twin disasters of Watergate and Vietnam, the President's authority over the deployment of American troops had been relatively undisputed. The War Powers Act, passed over the veto of President Nixon in 1973, changed that. The act was the centerpiece of the activist, radical Vietnam/Watergate Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kans.) quotes Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.) as saying, "The War Powers Resolution has failed to fulfill its intent, and has been . . . ineffective."28 Senator Dole then added, "In my view, . . . we do not need to keep bad laws on the books while searching for a way to resolve the ongoing executive-legislative tension over the powers of war and peace."29

Perhaps the time is right for the War Powers Resolution, adopted out of protest during a time of national frustration and activism, to be replaced by some measure such as Senator Dole's Peace Powers Act, designed with deliberation during a time when the nation is at peace with its own soul and with its neighbors.


NOTES
1.
U.S. House of Representatives, "Letter of September 21, 1987, to Secretary of State George P. Schultz from Hon. Dante B. Fascell, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, regarding Legal Advice in Connection with the U.S. Military Presence in the Persian Gulf and the War Powers Resolution," and "Letter to Chairman Fascell from Assistant Secretary of State J. Edward Fox Dated March 30, 1988 Responding to Chairman Fascell's September 21, 1987 Letter," in The War Powers Resolution: Relevant Documents, Correspondence, Reports, Committee Print, Subcommittee on Arms Control, International Security and Scientific Affairs of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 100th Cong., 2nd Sess., May 1988 ed. ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988): 93-99.
2.
U.S. House of Representatives, War Powers: Origins, Purposes, and Applications: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Arms Control, International Security and Science of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, 100th Cong., 2nd Sess., August 4, 1988 and September 27, 1988 ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989): 219.

-176-

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