The National War Powers Commission, chaired by James Baker and Warren Christopher, will release its report and recommendations on war powers reform today at 11AM eastern time.
Baker and Christopher wrote an op-ed in the NYT on this very subject today:
“THE most agonizing decision we make as a nation is whether to go to war. Our Constitution ambiguously divides war powers between the president (who is the commander in chief) and Congress (which has the power of the purse and the power to declare war). The founders hoped that the executive and legislative branches would work together, but in practice the two branches don’t always consult. And even when they do, they often dispute their respective powers.
A bipartisan group that we led, the National War Powers Commission, has unanimously concluded after a year of study that the law purporting to govern the decision to engage in war — the 1973 War Powers Resolution — should be replaced by a new law that would, except for emergencies, require the president and Congressional leaders to discuss the matter before going to war. Seventy years of polls show that most Americans expect Congress and the president to talk before making that decision, and in most cases, they have done so. ”
The conclusion is not surprising: anyone who has studied the subject knows that the War Powers Resolution is basically ineffective and needs to be updated or scratched altogether. But from reading Baker and Christopher’s op-ed, I’m not sure that their proposal is the right one.
But I will withold any real comments until the report is released today.