The House passed an amendment today offered by Congressman Brad Sherman to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Sherman's amendment reads, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Resolution." The House voted to pass the amendment, with 316 voting for and 111 voting against.
"The House sent a very strong message today: the War Powers Act is the law of the land, and we cannot tolerate its violation. We cannot bring democracy and the rule of law to Libya without safeguarding democracy and the rule of law here at home," said Congressman Sherman.
The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Act) prevents the President from conducting military action for more than 60 days without Congressional approval. Congress has not authorized military action in Libya. The administration sent a perfunctory letter to the House leadership encouraging a resolution approving military action against Qaddafi's forces on May 20, 2011 -- about 60 days after hostilities began in March.
This is the third time the House voted on Sherman's War Powers amendment. On June 13th, Sherman offered the same amendment to the Military Construction-VA Appropriations Act. The House voted to pass that amendment, 248 to 163. The House voted on the same amendment offered to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, on June 2nd. That amendment had nearly passed 208 to 213.
Sherman stressed the historical importance of passing this amendment to ensure that the Executive Branch complies with the law. "The past several Presidents have asserted that the War Powers Resolution is not binding on them and that any President can deploy unlimited military assets for any duration for any purpose deemed worthwhile," said Sherman. "This amendment uses the power of the purse to compel adherence to the War Powers Resolution. No President should be able to wage war indefinitely without Congressional authorization."