Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) announced today that he has re-introduced legislation that fundamentally amends the War Powers Resolution. His bill, the War Powers Reform Act, would strike a new balance between the legislative and executive branch and ensure that both branches share responsibility regarding when the U.S. employs military force.
HR. 383 was introduced with 26 bipartisan cosponsors, including the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), as well as Republican Members on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"Now that the election is behind us, I believe this is the time for us to come together and reassert the constitutional responsibility of Congress regarding the use of force. The Founders intended for the American people to be consulted before the President makes a decision to use military force, a power entrusted to elected representatives in Congress. While the President has the constitutional authority to take action to defend our cherished way of life, the Congress was empowered to decide when we would go to war. However, this process has become out of balance over recent decades, with Presidents of both parties not complying with the provisions as originally intended," said Congressman Gibson. "I am encouraged by the growing, bipartisan support of my colleagues for this legislation and their recognition that the solemn decision to use military force must be made with the utmost of care."
The War Powers Resolution, originally enacted over the President's veto in 1973, requires the President to seek Congressional authority after engaging the American military in hostile actions.
The War Powers Reform Act amends the War Powers Resolution to clarify the President's authority to use military force. This authority is limited to when there has been a declaration of war, when there is congressional authorization, or when the US is attacked or in imminent danger of being attacked. If the President desires to take military action when none of these circumstances are met, the President must first come to Congress for authorization.
In 2011, Congressman Gibson testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on this legislation.