Free Markets, Free People

War Powers Act


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 26 Jun 11

In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Libya vote in the House of Represenatatives, the economy, and Gunwalker.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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Obama’s soon-to-be illegal war–where’s the outrage?

I think we all know what would be the number one story today had we been this close to having this happen on the last president’s watch.

At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days.

The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which makes Friday the 60-day deadline.

See, here’s how this works … Congress makes the laws and the President signs them into being.  Everyone is obliged to follow them.  And that includes the President.  However, that’s not the case, or so it seems, with Libya.  Today is the last day of the 60 grace period for the President to get Congressional authorization and there has been no move to accomplish that.  Apparently the administration believes they’re above the law.

The irony, of course, is that it was Mr. Bush who was continually accused of waging an illegal war.  Yet it has been the last two Democratic presidents who are guilty of doing so:

But it is virtually unprecedented for a president to continue a mission beyond 60 days without a resolution from Congress.

"Make no mistake: Obama is breaking new ground, moving decisively beyond his predecessors," Yale law professors Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway wrote this week in the Washington Post.

The only thing that comes close is President Clinton’s military effort in Kosovo.

He failed to get congressional approval before the 60-day deadline was up. His administration argued that Congress had effectively authorized the mission by approving money for it, and the Kosovo conflict lasted 78 days.

The Obama administration doesn’t have that option with Libya, because the Pentagon is using existing money. Congress never specifically funded the mission.

Now, the administration is trying to figure out what to do.

“Now?”  Now the administration is “trying to figure out what to do”?   And “what to do” is fairly straight forward – seek congressional approval for the continuation of the “kinetic event” or whatever it is we’re calling it this week, or stop our involvement.

Now.

More irony:

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, tells CNN he believes Obama is trying to "bring democracy to Libya while shredding the Constitution of the United States."

"He cannot continue what he is doing in Libya without congressional authorization. When a president defiantly violates the law, that really undercuts our efforts to urge other countries to have the rule of law," Sherman said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, concurs.

"You could say, ‘Well, we have a good president, he’ll do the right thing.’ Well, someday you may have a president who does the wrong thing, and that’s why you have rules, because you can never count on people being good people," Paul told CNN.

Indeed.  The process and rules are only there for the little people I guess.  The President appears to believe he is above the law.

Finally, where’s the Congressional leadership on this?  Why isn’t Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid both banging the drum loudly and persistently while calling the president “incompetent” ?  After all, only an incompetent would just now be trying to figure out what to do, no?  And tomorrow will they declare the war “illegal” like it actually will be?

And where are McConnell and Boehner? 

Time to elevate this and get a little bit of a firestorm going boys.  If it were your side, you can trust that Pelosi and Reid wouldn’t be dawdling in their offices, they’d be attacking the lawlessness of the presidency.

Where are you, Congressional “leaders?”

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO