MIL-OSI USA: Meijer, McGovern Introduce Sweeping Legislation to Reassert Congressional Authority Over War Powers, National Security Bill would reclaim congressional oversight of use of military force, arms sales, and emergency declarations

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Peter Meijer (R-MI)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Peter Meijer (R-MI), Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability, and James McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, today introduced the National Security Reforms and Accountability Act (NSRAA), sweeping legislation to reassert congressional authority over matters of national security. The bill will recalibrate the balance of power between the President and Congress by reclaiming congressional oversight of arms sales, emergency declarations, and the use of military force. A fact sheet about the bill can be found here.

“Allowing administration after administration – presidents from both sides of the aisle – to supersede Congress’ authority over matters of war and peace is a dereliction of congressional responsibility,” said Rep. Meijer. “Congress must reassert its role in national security decisions, especially those that impact our servicemembers. The National Security Reforms and Accountability Act will put Congress back in the driver’s seat so we can deliver on our duty to the American people as it is laid out by the Constitution. I’m proud to help lead this important effort in the House.”

“For decades, presidents of both parties have slowly but surely usurped Congressional authority on matters of national security. It’s happened regardless of who occupies the Oval Office or which party is in charge on Capitol Hill. Clearly, this is not the system of checks and balance our constitution envisions. Congress is the branch closest to the people and it is our duty to make tough decisions about when, where, and how to put American troops in harm’s way,” said Rep. McGovern. “We need to come together in a bipartisan way to reclaim our rightful role as a co-equal branch of government before it’s too late, and that is what the National Security Reforms and Accountability Act aims to do.”

Similar bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the Senate. S. 2391, the National Security Powers Act, was introduced by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Mike Lee (R-UT).

The legislation has three parts: war powers reform, arms export reform, and national emergencies reform – all unified by a set of rules and procedures that reassert and safeguard congressional prerogatives. In each case, the President is required to consult congressional leaders and obtain congressional authorization before exercising the powers in question. Congressional authorizations will have to meet specific requirements, including an automatic sunset. Activities lacking such authorization will face an automatic funding cutoff after a specified number of days. While similar, the House and Senate versions are not identical. The House version includes international law provisions in the war powers and arms sales titles and does not prescribe special procedures for joint resolutions of approval for arms sales.

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