The War Powers Act refers to the law that was passed by the United States Congress on 7th November 1973. This act was made in order to limit the ability of the U.S President in initiating military activities abroad. The main motive behind designing the Act was simply to avoid long wars and lengthy conflicts.
The War Powers Act is also called as the War Powers Resolution that was enacted over executive veto President Richard M. Nixon. The text of the law as stated guarantees that both Congress and President’s collective judgment shall be applying as and when the armed forces are sent overseas. The President needs to consult with the legislature before committing any troops to war. In other words, the act requires that if the President send military troops for military actions then he must notify the same with Congress within 48 hours. It also doesn’t allow the military troop to stay in a state of conflict for more than 60 days. If it remains more than the said number of days then it is mandatory that the President take authorization from the Congress. This act was considered majorly for preventing any “further Vietnams”. If discussed in details the division of the war powers was divided under Article I, Section 8 and Article II, Section 2. The Article I constituted – declaration of wars, raising and supporting army, granting letters of Marque and Reprisal, maintaining Navy, making land and naval regulation rules, making rules in regards to capturing on land and water, calling forth the militia and organising, disciplining and training the total military force. The Article II on the other hand states that the President must be the Army’s and Navy’s Commander in Chief in the United States. It makes the President command and lead the military force.
The origin of the Act occurred after the Vietnam War. In the U.S. Constitution the war making power had been shared by the legislative and the executive branches. The President as the military’s commander-in-chief directed the armed forces. Congress on the other hand had the power to call for wars and raise huge armies and support them. These provisions meant that the Congress approved the involvement of America in wars abroad. The President however deployed armed forces without consulting the Congress and many became wary about the same. President Harry S.Truman sent troops in the Korean War and Presidents Johnson, Kennedy and Nixon were a part of the long Vietnam War. During these Korean and Vietnam wars the U.S. went into intense conflicts for a very long period. The Congress authority started to erode. The matters regarding the secret bombings of President Nixon at Cambodia were leaked. The Congress were unaware of this event and hence the decision to pass the War Powers Resolution was taken. The resolution was passed by both the Senate and the House of the Representatives but President Nixon vetoed it. Congress over rode this veto by a two-third of vote in each of the house and thereafter the law came into action.
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