Can Congress Defund the War?
Opponents of the president's desire to keep a substantial number of troops in harm's way in Iraq (much less to increase their numbers) have differed in their proposals to bring the troops home. Sen. Russ Feingold began a hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, entitled "Exercising Congress’s Constitutional Power to End a War," with this statement, in which he calls upon the legislature to exercise its power to defund the war.
Tomorrow, I will introduce legislation that will prohibit the use of funds to continue the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq six months after enactment. By prohibiting funds after a specific deadline, Congress can force the President to bring our forces out of Iraq and out of harm’s way. ...
We are here to find out from [expert witnesses] not what Congress should do, but what Congress can do. Ultimately, it rests with Congress to decide whether to use its constitutional powers to end the war.
The answer should be clear. Since the President is adamant about pursuing his failed policies in Iraq, Congress has the duty to stand up and use its power to stop him. If Congress doesn’t stop this war, it’s not because it doesn’t have the power. It’s because it doesn’t have the will.
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