Congress at War

Louis Fisher, Ryan Hendrickson, Stephen R. Weissman
Content Type
Journal Article
Foreign Affairs
Issue Number
Publication Date
May/June 2008
Council on Foreign Relations
To the Editor: William Howell and Jon Pevehouse ("When Congress Stops Wars," September/October 2007) suggest that Congress has been far more influential in shaping U.S. military action abroad than previously thought. We disagree. Such a view does not reflect the overwhelming historical evidence since World War II. Moreover, their argument undervalues Congress' constitutional responsibility to independently check the president prior to war. In most cases, Congress has chosen the politically expedient route of deferring to the president. The principal reason for this support has been not partisan calculations, as Howell and Pevehouse argue, but rather lawmakers' unwillingness to exercise their constitutional powers and understand the need for legislative checks.
Political Geography
United States