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CVA supports critical national security powers reform

By Sarah Shriver

CVA supports critical national security powers reform

Veterans group urges passage of bipartisan measure to restore balance of power between Congress and White House on national security policy

 

ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Deputy Director Russ Duerstine issued the following statement regarding the introduction of the National Security Reform and Accountability Act (NSRAA).

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Rep. Meijer (MI) and Rep. McGovern (MA) is the House companion bill to the National Security Powers Act of 2021 (NSPA). Together, they represent a comprehensive plan to restore Congress’ constitutional authority in three critical areas of national security decision-making: war powers, arms exports, and emergency declarations.

Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Deputy Director, had this to say about the bill:

Congress has the opportunity to reassert its constitutional duty to make decisions about war and peace and to finally turn the page on decades of failed U.S. foreign policy.

By passing this bipartisan measure, Congress will send a clear message to the American people that they have been heard — and after the end of a 20-year war in Afghanistan, valuable lessons have been learned.  And these lessons will prevent future wars from becoming open-ended, decades-long entanglements.”


WHAT NSRAA FIXES

War Powers Reform:

  • Provides clear definitions for important, undefined terms in the current War Powers Resolution, such as “hostilities.”
  • Shortens the “termination clock” for unauthorized hostilities from 60 days to 20 days.
  • Cuts off funding for unauthorized military action, ensuring enforceability and reasserting Congress’ power of the purse.
  • Requires that future Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) have automatic two-year sunsets, are geographic- and mission-specific, and feature regular reporting.
  • Sunsets existing AUMFs, while leaving a clear framework for any that are necessary in the future.

Arms Sales Oversight:

  • Requires affirmative congressional votes to approve certain arms sales, encouraging better oversight.

Emergency Declaration Limits:

  • Prevents the abuse of emergency declarations by ensuring that presidents can only use special powers during emergencies directly related to the situation at hand.
  • Sunsets old emergency declarations and requires Congress to affirmatively approve future declarations within 30 days for them to continue.
  • Requires renewal votes for emergency declarations within a year and caps their length at five years, preventing the abuse of emergency powers from now-obsolete declarations.

BACKGROUND

CVA has been working to repeal outdated AUMFs for years, making it a priority for its grassroots and advocacy efforts in its annual policy agendas (2019, 2020, 2021).

CVA recently led a coalition in sending a letter to members of Congress urging support of a bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Kaine and Young to repeal the 1991 & 2002 AUMFs as well. The group was joined on the letter by Defense Priorities Initiative, FreedomWorks, and the R Street institute.

CVA has been staunch in its support of lawmakers who have taken a principled stand and worked to repeal these measures in the past. In 2019, CVA welcomed the addition of the bipartisan War Powers Caucus to Congress, applauding lawmakers for prioritizing the issue. CVA also launched a digital ad campaign thanking lawmakers for standing against endless war, praising lawmakers for voting to ensure proper Congressional input before any offensive military force against Iran.

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