U.S. Senate calls for changes in War Powers Resolution of 1973, giving Congress better hearing

By Hannah Gullickson,

On Thursday, Senators Tim Kaine and John McCain called for a rewriting of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 so that Congress can act more quickly when sending the military into war.

According to The Virginian Pilot, the resolution needs a rewriting. In past wars, Congress held the power to formally declare war, yet the president held the power as the military’s commander-in-chief and could send the military into battle. Although the 1973 resolution stipulated that the president could not send the military without Congress’ approval, the U.S.’s past history has shown feats from presidents who have stepped beyond these bounds.

In an interview with The Associated Press, John McCain clarified that the Senate’s push for a rewritten document will aid Congress in its military-related decisions.

“The Constitution gives the power to declare war to the Congress, but Congress has not formally declared war since June 1942, even though our nation has been involved in dozens of military actions of one scale or another since that time,” he said. “There is reason for this: The nature of war is changing.”

Since the Vietnam War, the U.S. has not formally declared war, only getting involved in several conflicts. With Obama’s call for military action in Syria, Kaine said “that it’s time now to get back in and to do some careful deliberation, to update and normalize the appropriate level of consultation between a president and the legislature.”

With this rewritten resolution, the president would be required to hear Congress before sending the military out and to wait within 30 days before Congress’ final vote.

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