Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) Tuesday introduced the National Security Powers Act, which “safeguards congressional prerogatives” in the use of military force, emergency powers and arms exports.
If the bill becomes law, Congress could immediately cut off funding for military action ordered by the Commander in Chief; veto all arms sales; and, give the ultimate power to declare public emergencies to Congress, not the president.
In each of these cases, the bill would require the president to consult congressional leaders and obtain congressional authorization. Any congressional authorization will have to meet specific requirements, including an automatic sunset. Under the National Security Powers Act, any activities lacking such authorization will face an automatic funding cutoff after a specified number of days. Rep. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming weeks.
“I believe that we have become far too comfortable with the United States engaging in military interventions all over the world, and the time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional role in matters of war and peace,” said Sen. Sanders. “Article I of the Constitution clearly states that it is Congress, not the president, which has the power to declare war. The Framers gave that power to Congress, the branch most accountable to the people, but over many years Congress has allowed its oversight authority to wane and executive power to expand. This legislation is an important step toward reasserting that constitutional power, and I hope it will lead to a larger discussion, both in the Congress and among the public, about the uses of military force in our foreign policy.”
For more information on the National Security Powers Act, go to sanders.senate.gov.