At War with Congress: War Powers Disputes during the Trump Administration.

Date
2022
Authors
McHugh, Kelly A.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Abstract
During his four years in office, Congress made historic challenges to President Donald Trump's authority as Commander in Chief, twice invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The first resolution, passed in 2019, expressed disapproval of the U.S.' logistical and material support for Saudi Arabia's campaign against the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen. The second challenge occurred in 2020 after Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Iranian Major General Qassam Soleimani. In response, Congress passed a WPR that stipulated that any future military action against the regime would require express legislative authorization. Using a case study approach, this essay examines why Congress chose to employ the WPR as a policy tool after decades of dormancy. Ultimately, I argue that a confluence of factors compelled majorities in both chambers of Congress to use the War Powers Resolution to make a powerful rebuke of the administration's policy. Drawing on a wealth of existing literature about the factors that impede or compel Congressional activism in use-of-force debates, I find that in both cases, members of Congress faced strong moral, legal, and strategic incentives to act, with few attendant political risks. As such, while the passage of two wars powers resolutions represented an important milestone in interbranch relations, it likely does not presage a new era of Congressional assertiveness in war powers. Keywords: U.S. foreign policy; Donald Trump; Congress [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Democracy & Security is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Description
Keywords
Political science, International relations
Citation
McHugh, K. A. (2022). At War with Congress: War Powers Disputes during the Trump Administration. Democracy & Security, 18(3), 228–262. https://doi.org/10.1080/17419166.2021.2010554
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