Today I attended "Reforming the 1973 War Powers Resolution" featuring Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) at the CSIS here in Washington, DC.
What I took away from Sen. Kaine’s remarks:
There is certainly a need to establish an “accepted norm” – “How does a nation make a national commitment to use its forces?”
Sen. Kaine is working on creating a new War Powers Resolution that does the following:
1) Define “war”
2) Define what it means for the President to “consult with Congress”
3) Establish a mandatory voting requirement – Congress must vote YES before troops are committed abroad
The bill is in the VERY early stages, but here’s where they’re at so far:
1) “war” is defined as “7+ days of committed kinetic action abroad”
2) In order for the President to “consult with Congress” – The bill will create a “consulting committee” that is regularly briefed by the President. If this consulting committee is briefed, the standard has been met.
3) This was vague.
Item 1 Needs a troop number so as to facilitate committing Special Forces teams abroad without congressional approval.
Item 2 The “consulting committee” sounds like a reasonable idea – a formalized flow of information.
Item 3 Needs to be the teeth of the bill. In order for this bill to really disallow an executive from unilaterally committing the nation to war, there needs to be a clear deterrent built in. Perhaps Item 3 could even map out the impeachment process if a certain number of troops are committed abroad for too long.