Should Congress Have Greater Power over Use of Military Force & Arms Sales
An innovative survey conducted by UMD’s Program for Public Consultation found that bipartisan majorities favor several legislative proposals giving Congress greater authority over the use of military force and arms sales, as well as repealing the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), passed after the 9/11 attacks, which has been the primary basis for the uses of military force since then.
Currently, according to the War Powers Act, if the president initiates the use of military force, after 60 days, Congress can vote to stop it. However, the president can veto the stoppage, which would require Congress to muster a supermajority to override the veto.
Bipartisan majorities support legislative proposals that automatically cut-off funding for a military operation initiated by the president after 60 days unless Congress acts to approve it. Congress could effectively stop an operation with a simple majority. After being briefed on the proposals and evaluating arguments pro and con, 58% favor an automatic funding cut-off after 60 days unless Congress acts. This garners support from 53% of Republicans, 62% of Democrats, and 58% of independents.
Similarly, bipartisan majorities (61%, Republicans 56%, Democrats 68%, independents 61%) favor requiring that Congress actively approve arms sales over $14 million, giving Congress the power to stop arms sales with a simple majority not subject to a presidential veto.
Consistent with the general support for a greater Congressional role, bipartisan majorities favor repealing the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which gave the president the authority to use military force against anyone involved in the attacks or any organization that helped those involved. All in all, nearly six-in-ten voters (59%) favor repealing the 2001 AUMF, including 65% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans, and 63% of independents. Read more about this survey in coverage from Jim Lobe of Responsible Statecraft.
Our Op-Ed in USA Today on the Vast Common Ground
of the American People
Last week on the eve of the National Week of Conversation, our President, Steven Kull, and the Director for the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford, Jim Fishkin, penned an op-ed in USA Today. It highlights how the American people are less polarized than Congress and how public consultation offers a way to improve representatives' understanding of their constituents and allow them to find more common ground when creating policy.