March 05, 2020

Clawing Back Constitutional War Powers

By Richard Fontaine and Vance Serchuk

Washington is in the early innings of what has the potential to become the most significant congressional claw-back of constitutional war powers authority since Vietnam. Following the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Qods Force leader Qassim Suleimani on January 3, the Republican-led Senate recently voted 55-45 last month to block funding for the use of military force against Tehran, absent explicit approval by Capitol Hill. While President Trump has vowed to veto the legislation—a version of which separately passed the House of Representatives earlier in February—this flare-up is likely a preview of bigger battles to come, regardless of who wins the November election.

The attempt by Congress to restrict the White House’s freedom of maneuver on Iran has been characterized as a backlash against its shifting justifications for the Suleimani drone strike or as a proxy for wider discontent with the Trump Administration’s unorthodox foreign policy. Such explanations, however, fail to situate the vote within its proper historical context.

Read the full article in The American Interest.

  • Commentary
    • September 15, 2020

    Over the last four years, there has been an unprecedented all-of-nation effort to ensure that the 2020 election is as secure as any in U.S. history....

    By Christopher C. Krebs

  • Commentary
    • Lawfare
    • September 11, 2020
    The 9/11 Commission Report, the Pandemic and the Future of Homeland Security

    The report was specific in its remit, but its lessons withstand the passage of time....

    By Carrie Cordero

  • Commentary
    • September 9, 2020
    Sharper: The Next Congress

    When the 117th Congress is sworn in next January, legislators have the opportunity to exert substantial influence on the future of America's role in the world....

    By Katie Galgano, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Commentary
    • September 8, 2020
    Partnerships to Protect Democracy: States vs. Nation-States

    There is a growing and gathering danger shadowing American democracy and our system of elections. It is that malicious foreign actors have demonstrated the motivation and capa...

    By Scott Bates

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia