Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole Announce Rules Committee Hearing Examining Possible Reforms to the War Powers Resolution

Will explore the limitations of this 1973 law and how the House Rules process could reform it to work more effectively in the modern Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Ranking Member Tom Cole today announced that the Rules Committee will hold a hearing examining possible reforms to the War Powers Resolution on Tuesday, March 23rd at 11am EST. The hearing, Article I: Reforming the War Powers Resolution for the 21st Century, will explore the current limitations of this 1973 law and how the House Rules process could help reform it to work more effectively in the modern Congress.

“The War Powers Resolution was enacted nearly 50 years ago to ensure Congress plays its constitutional role in matters of war and peace. Yet in practice, we’ve seen a slide toward unchecked executive power and limited action by Congress to stop it.  For the first time in all my years in Congress, we now have an administration that supports reining in executive war power, including ending this ‘forever war’ approach taken by previous administrations. The time is finally right to reform the War Powers Resolution and set a new course for the authorization of military force, and I thank Ranking Member Cole for joining me in this bipartisan effort,” said Chairman McGovern.

“For years, there has been an increasing tension between the constitutional roles of the legislative and executive branches of our nation’s government – including authority on matters of war. To encourage a bipartisan dialogue on this important issue, I am pleased that the House Rules Committee will conduct a hearing to explore the War Powers Act and retaining congressional primacy. Although the War Powers Act was designed to address a specific problem at a specific time in history, the law has failed to reign in the expansion of executive branch authority nearly 50 years later. Next week, I look forward to hearing from experts and considering potential ways to restore congressional authority and modernize this legislation for the 21st century. I thank my good friend and colleague Chairman Jim McGovern for shedding light on this important issue and making it a priority of our committee,” said Ranking Member Cole.

This bipartisan hearing follows the committee’s Article I: Constitutional Perspectives on the Responsibility and Authority of the Legislative Branch hearing last year. The committee examined how this altered balance of power compares to what the Founders intended, how the role of the branches of government has changed over time, and how the authority of the legislative branch has diminished as a result – all with the goal of identifying opportunities to reassert congressional authority.

What: Rules Committee Hearing, Article I: Reforming the War Powers Resolution for the 21st Century

When:  Tuesday, March 23rd at 11am EST

Where: This proceeding will be streamed live on via Cisco Webex

Witnesses:  Rebecca Ingber, Professor of Law, Cardozo School of Law; Senior Fellow, Reiss Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law.

Tess Bridgeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Just Security; Senior Fellow and Visiting Scholar, NYU Law's Reiss Center on Law and Security.

John B. Bellinger III, Partner, Arnold & Porter; former Legal Adviser to the Department of State and the National Security Council.


Mar 16, 2021