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Should A President Need Congressional Approval To Declare War?47:31
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American soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division deploy to fight Taliban fighters as part of Operation Mountain Thrust to a U.S. base near the village of Deh Afghan on June 22, 2006 in the Zabul province of Afghanistan.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
American soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division deploy to fight Taliban fighters as part of Operation Mountain Thrust to a U.S. base near the village of Deh Afghan on June 22, 2006 in the Zabul province of Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

American presidents are supposed to ask Congress for permission to wage war. But that almost never happens. We hear from Democratic and Republican representatives who want to change that.

Guests

Rep. Jim McGovern, Democratic congressman for Massachusetts's 2nd District. Chair of the House Rules Committee. (@RepMcGovern)

Rep. Tom Cole, Republican congressman for Oklahoma’s 4th District. Ranking member on the House Rules Committee. (@TomColeOK04)

Oona Hathaway, professor of international law at Yale Law School. (@oonahathaway)

Matthew Waxman, professor of law at Columbia Law School. (@mattwaxman1)

Also Featured

John Yoo, professor of law at UC Berkeley.

From The Reading List

The Hill: "House panel advances bill to repeal 2002 war authorization" — "The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 28-19 largely along party lines to approve the bill from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) repealing the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), advancing it to the House floor."

Foreign Policy: "Repeal the President’s Iraq War Powers" — "On the evening of March 19, 2003, then-U.S. President George W. Bush addressed the American people in a live broadcast from the Oval Office."

Axios: "House panel advances bill to curb presidential war powers in Iraq" — "The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a resolution to repeal Congress' 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, sending the measure to the full chamber for consideration."

The Atlantic: "The Soleimani Strike Defied the U.S. Constitution" — "If Congress fails to respond effectively, the constitutional order will be broken beyond repair, and the president will be left with the unmitigated power to take the country to war on his own—anywhere, anytime, for any reason."

Politico: "Partisan lines blur as Congress tries to curb Biden’s war powers" — "For the better part of the last two decades, Rep. Barbara Lee has been leading the charge to rein in presidential war powers."

Washington Post: "Democrats push Biden on returning war-powers authority to Congress" — "As Congress this week renews what has become a perennial debate over war powers, lawmakers are focused on the White House, with many Democrats hoping the new president will break with recent history and back their cause."

New York Times: "Does Biden Really Want to End the Forever Wars?" — "'A decade of war is now ending,' proclaimed the American president — eight years ago. President Barack Obama would soon expand what he had criticized as 'a perpetual war,' the military conflict against Islamist terrorists that began in 2001 in Afghanistan but that sprawled to the war in Iraq and to many new enemies in many countries."

Washington Examiner: "Opinion: We may finally have a chance to reform war powers" — "For decades, war powers in Washington flowed away from Congress and toward the presidency. The framers of the Constitution wanted to vest the legislature with the power to commence conflict."

This program aired on March 29, 2021.

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