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PROVIDING A MECHANISM FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISAPPROVAL
Obviously, however, if congressional approval is to be required for a Presidential war, then a deadline or time limit must be imposed. The way to avoid the flaws of the Javits bill, as I see it, is to provide a mechanism for congressional disapproval of a Presidential war, that is to provide a mechanism whereby the Congress at any time may effectively call a halt.
It may be argued that this is not necessary, because Congress has the power to call a halt through the appropriations process. The fact that Congress has this power speaks to the constitutional question: Since Congress indubitably has the power to cut off the funds for a military operation that it disapproves, how can it be argued that Congress has no constitutional authority to interfere with the President's actions in plunging the country into undeclared war? But the power to cut off funds is a blunt instrument, and one which may not be quickly effective.
What is needed is a more precise instrument to give instantaneous effect to the underlying power of the purse. This is what I have attempted to provide in my bill, H.R. 317, which provides that either House of the Congress may by resolution at any time terminate the President's authority to carry on undeclared hostilities.
The question may well be asked: Why should either House have this power, why should not action by both Houses be required?
My answer is the following: A declaration of war requires the approval of both Houses; either House can say “No." Accordingly, it is reasonable to say that, when the President embarks upon undeclared war, he can continue so long as both Houses give their approval, expressly or tacitly.
PRESIDENT'S WARMAKING POWERS DANGEROUS
But if either House expressly says "no," then he must stop. Or to put the matter another way, the President's power to engage in hostilities is such an extraordinary, and such a dangerous, power, that he should not have it if either House says he should not.
There is, of course, a familiar precedent for the one-House-veto procedure. Under the Reorganization Act of 1949, the President is given the extraordinary power to propose governmental reorganizations and to put such plans into effect if the Congress takes no action within 60 days. No affirmative action of the Congress is required. But either House can say no by simple resolution.
One final point: I am not happy with section 5 of my bill which attempts to assure that resolutions of disapproval could not be blocked by delaying tactics. This provision was taken from the Javits bill. It poses difficult questions, and I have come to the conclusion that it is not needed in my bill.
I intend shortly to circulate my bill, omitting this section and making certain other minor revisions and to invite those members who are so disposed to cosponsor it. I will then reintroduce it, as amended. STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM CHAPPELL, JR., A REPRESENTA
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Mr. CHAPPELL. Mr. Chairman, for 12 long years I watched the shadow of a war creep over this land bringing with it anguish, frustration, and despair as our people endeavored to understand America's involvement on another soil 10,000 miles away.
Neither praise nor condemnation of actions, past or present, but rather their unforgettable lessons, will avail us to a sensible direction for the future. One such lesson is that no government dare commit its people to prolonged armed conflict without a clear definition of the purpose of such commitment and the will of the people to pursue them to victory.
How then do we implement the lesson? We best do so by clearly implementing the respective responsibilities of the President and the Congress with reference to the constitutional power to make war.
House Joint Resolution 71, a resolution which I have again introduced, I believe, is a reasonable approach to such implementation. One hundred and fifty of our distinguished colleagues, most of whom cosponsored this measure during the 92d Congress, have joined with me to cosponsor House Joint Resolution 71.
DOES NOT ALTER PRESIDENT'S POWER
This resolution in no way alters the President's power to initially engage our troops to repel a sudden attack or to protect American lives and property. It simply requires the President, within 72 hours of committing any of our Armed Forces to action in any armed conflict outside the United States, to report such commitment to the Congress.
If the Congress shall fail to approve or otherwise act on such report within 30 calendar days after receiving it, the President shall within the next succeeding 30 days terminate such commitment and disengage all forces so committed.
This proposal embraces the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the thoughtful declaration of many great Americans after them.
The framers of the Constitution were very deliberate in balancing the powers of this Government and those of the Congress and the President, and they were deliberate for excellent reasons.
All too frequently, the American Colonies were drawn by the King's decree into England's wars. The leaders of the newly independent Republic resolved to make certain that their new country would never again be drawn into war at the direction and discretion of a single man. For this reason, it transferred the war power to the legislative branch of the newly created Government.
Indeed, the framers of the Constitution recognized that the President under certain circumstances might have to take defensive action to repel and subdue a sudden attack on this great Nation. But that was the extent of the warmaking power they were willing for him to exercise.
CONSTITUTION IS LIVING DOCTWENT I deeply believe that the Constitution is a living document. The Congress of the United States must activate its responsibilities under the document for determining war and peace.
I feel most profoundly that had Congress either declared war or refused to allow our involvement in Vietnam at its outset, a clear-cut attitude would have been established and the national hurt of our people avoided.
The United States is the leader of the free world today, but this is not so because our citizens are anxious that we take the lead in military conquests; nor because our diplomats are the most expert; nor because our policies are the most faultless or the most popular.
The mantle of leadership has been placed upon our shoulders not by any nation, nor by our own Government or citizens, but by destiny and circumstance—by the sheer fact of our physical and economic strength, and by our role as the only real counter to the forces of Communism in the world today.
If events in Indochina have taught us to better fulfill that role, then it is not a wholly dark story. While this resolution in no way affects our present involvement, it reminds us that the mistakes of the past must be heeded in the future.
We in Congress, have the power to assure the American people that never again will we allow a situation like Vietnam to occur.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to appear before your fine committee, and I deeply appreciate the thoughtful consideration that you are giving to this type of vital legislation.
THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 1973
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:20 a.m. in room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Clement J. Zablocki (chairman of the subcommittee)
presiding. Mr. ZaBLOCKI. The subcommittee will please come to order.
The committee wishes to express its gratitude and appreciation to our colleagues, Congressmen Bingham, Fascell, and Chappell for their understanding and cooperation. Since the hour was late we could not fully hear them yesterday and therefore by unanimous consent their statements were placed in the record and we have invited them back this morning for a period of questioning. It may be however that Congressman Chappell and Congressman Fascell have conflicting and unavoidable commitments.
Congressman Bingham, if you care to take the witness chair. We certainly want to thank you for your statement of yesterday. We regret that the lack of time precluded any questions and are grateful that you agreed to return this morning for that purpose. We appreciate your deep interest in this area and your untiring efforts to find a solution. Your bill is certainly very unique; it does pose some questions, however, as was quite evident in the colloquy yesterday when we were considering S. 440. It appears that your bill is to supplant or to attempt at least to resolve the constitutional question in sections 3 to 5 of the Senate version; that is, the Javits-StennisEagleton bill. Is that the basic purpose of your bill?
STATEMENT OF HON. JONATHAN B. BINGHAM, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Bingham. Well, Mr. Chairman, first of all, if I might just say a general word or two, I want to stress again as Senator Javits did yesterday the feeling I have that these are most important and most useful hearings and I want to compliment you for holding them and for the leadership that you have shown. I think in many ways the version of the Zablocki bill which has been introduced this year is a substantial advance over the bill that we have passed in previous years and in some ways I think comes closer to my ideas than the Javits bill does.