Veterans group urges passage of measure to restore balance of power between Congress and White House on national security policy
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Senior Adviser Dan Caldwell issued the following statement regarding the introduction of the National Security Powers Act of 2021 (NSPA). The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senator Murphy (Conn.) and co-sponsored by Senators Lee (Utah) and Sanders (Vt.), would bring about the most significant correction in decades to the current imbalance of national security powers between the president and Congress.
“America’s foreign policy status quo of the last few decades simply isn’t serving the American people, especially the men and women who risk their lives in support of it. By passing this bipartisan measure, war powers will be rebalanced, outdated and distorted AUMFs will be repealed, and our founders’ intent around the role Congress must play in matters of national security will be honored. It’s far past time for Congress to reclaim and perform its constitutional duty and again deliberate and vote on where, when, and why we send American troops into harm’s way. This bill is an opportunity for Congress to fulfill its duty to the people – and troops – it represents.”
Notably, the NSPA outlines:
- Military interventions, emergency declarations, and arms sales are areas where the president may act only with authorization or approval from Congress.
- In genuine emergencies where Congress has no time to act, the president may proceed without congressional approval—but only for a limited period of time.
- These national security powers must be used for clearly defined purposes, subject to regular review by Congress, and only as a last resort.
- Future force authorizations (AUMFs) must include a clearly defined mission and operational objectives; the identification of specific countries or organized armed groups against which force is authorized; and a time-bound reauthorization requirement.
- A revised war power resolution would include an automatic funding cutoff for unauthorized hostilities, consistent with Congress’s fundamental power of the purse.
CVA has been working to repeal outdated AUMFs for years, making it a priority for its grassroots and advocacy efforts in its annual policy agendas (2019, 2020, 2021).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.