The debate over war powers is nearly as old as the Constitution itself. The governing document grants Congress the power to declare war but gives the executive the power to conduct war as the commander-in-chief. The first significant debate occurred during George Washington’s presidency as Congress and the executive clashed over which branch had the authority to declare U.S. neutrality in foreign wars. In the modern-day, Congress has not officially declared war since 1942 during WWII. Subsequently, constitutional questions ask how much authority the executive has in sending troops into conflict without permission from the legislature. Currently, for example, Congress is considering passing a resolution that would prevent President Trump from taking further military action against Iran unless approved by the legislature.
Those who support Congress doing more to check the president’s war powers have argued that the executive should be limited in how much authority he has concerning foreign policy. This side believes that checks should exist to prevent the executive from abusing war powers.
Those who oppose Congress doing more to check the president’s war powers have argued that doing so will threaten U.S. security. Those who argue on this side may express the belief that the executive needs to be as free as possible to direct troops in order to immediately respond to ever-changing situations in volatile regions of the world.
So, what do you think? Should the U.S. Congress do more to check the president’s war powers? Students can either argue Yes, Congress should do more to check the president’s war powers; No, Congress should not do more to check the president’s war powers; or something in between!
Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:
-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner
-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers
-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors
-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner
-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly