Oct. 25, 1973 President Nixon vetoes the War Powers Resolution, however, Congress passed the law over Nixon’s veto on Nov. 7, 1973.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 was one of the decade’s landmark pieces of legislation. During World War II, Congress greatly expanded the president’s military power and discretion. Since World War II, the United States has fought in countries around the world, but never declared war. In the wake of the escalation of fighting in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, Congress felt it was necessary to rein back the authority of the executive.
As written, the War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of engaging armed forces in foreign combat and limits such engagements to 60 days of continuing operations without congressional approval. This was essentially Congress saying, “Hey give us back the power to start wars!” Richard Nixon used his veto power to stop the new bill, saying that it would impose “unconstitutional and dangerous restrictions” on his powers. Congress later overturned Nixon’s veto a few weeks later, and the bill became law.
- Why do you think the Framers chose War Powers to be a shared power in the federal government? Was this wise?
- What are the pros of having the president have more military power? What are the cons?
- Do you think that something like this scene from West Wing could happen in real life? Why or why not? What does it say about the relations between the press and government that such a scene was conceived for the show, which aired in 2001.
16, Oct. 2018, Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg the White House Press Secretary, The West Wing [Digital image]. Retrieved from <google.com>.