Does the President have too much influence over US Foreign Policy?…
Does the President have too much influence over US Foreign Policy?
Undermining Separation of Powers :check:
US Const: Pres is Commander-in-Chief, Congress can declare war and control budget - HOWEVER last time war formally declares was WW2 - US army has been global without Congressional approval!
eg. 1950 Korea - Truman called it a 'police action, no Congressional approval
eg. 2017 Syria - Trump orders 59 Tomahawk missiles on Syrian airbase after reports of chemical weapons attacks - Sec of State Tillerson said attack was justified under AII, Commander-in-Chief and Chief Executive to defend US national interests
BUT Congress can still set budget
eg. 1970 Vietnam - Church-Cooper amendments - administration could not fund soldiers/bombers in Cambodia
1973 War Powers Resolution :red_cross:
Limitied the use of military to:
Declaration of War
Specific statutory authorisation
National emergency (attack on US)
BUT allows president to use military force without Congress for 60 days max, 30 day withdrawal period
LITTLE IMPACT! Some argue restricting Commander-in-Chief power is unconstitutional
1990s: Clinton used argument when air striking Bosnia and Kosovo
2011: Congress tried to block Obama taking military action in Libya with WPR - Obama said as NATO was leading the military action, and no US ground troops deployed, WPR did not apply
Obama says the aftermath of this intervention (political instability due to overthrowing of Gaddafi) was the 'worst mistake' of his presidency - could have been avoided if Congress had had input?
Authorisation for Use of Military Force Act
AUMF provides blank check for war against individual terrorists!
2001: Congress passes AUMF almost unanimously - authorises 'all necessary and appropriate force against those nations (involved) in terrorist attacks on 9/11
eg. 2014: Obama expands air attacks in Syria to target ISIS
eg. 2017: Trump issues CIA with authority to carry out drone strikes (Obama had limited this to the military)
Controversial, as military must report all strikes to Congress, but CIA doesn't! Fears this will decrease transparency over outcomes and casualties
BUT Obama's 2015 request
Obama wanted Congress to pass resolution authorising US army 'as the President determined to be necessary against ISIL/associated forces' for 3 years
Request suggests Congress retains power over use of military! And Obama had to include time limit
No action taken on request
Supreme Court :check:
US v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp
Congress authorises Roosevelt to block weapons shipment to South American countries at war - Curtiss-Wright violates embargo, argues Congress has unconstitutionally delegated too much power to the president!
SC said FP power was vested in the federal government AND the President had "plenary" powers in FP, not dependent upon congressional delegation (FF said 'President is the sole organ of the federal government in international relations')
BUT SC has also challenged
Boumediene v. Bush
Challenged Bush admin treatment of 'enemy combatants' @ Guantanamo Bay
5-4 against Bush
Said foreign terrorism suspects had right to habeas corpus, to challenge their detention before a judge in a US Court (right protected by AIS9)
Checks/Balances: Treaties, Senate approval :red_cross:
BUT Executive Agreements!
Have essentially replaced treaties since WW2!
Congress authorises pres to negotiate on behalf - used for big international trade deals (eg. NAFTA 1993)
eg. 2015: Congress passes Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act = gives pres authorisation to negotiation TPP, 12 nation deal!
BUT Jan 2017: Trump withdraws, as Senate not voted on TTP! Shows excess of presidential power
More controversial! Congressional input not needed
2012-2015 - Iran Nuclear Deal
Constitution gives Pres power to negotiate treaties BUT require 'advice and consent' of Senate to be ratified
Need 2/3 majority
eg. 1999: Senate rejects Comprehensive Nuclear TBT
Sanctions, Congressional Control
Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act
419-3, 98-2, Popular bill
Introduces limits on the president's ability to impose and lift economic sanctions on other nations
Imposed sanctions on Russia (for interference with 2016), North Korea and Iran
! Law creates opportunity for 'congressional resolution of disapproval' - if president wants to lift sanctions, must produce a report and give 30 days for Congress to review - if they decde against it. pres may veto, but veto can be overriden
BUT limited impact so far
Trump wants better relations with Russia, but Congress most likely passed it as they believe Russia did interfere
Signing Statement: "Seriously flawed", "clearly unconstitutional"
2018: Trump admin missed deadline for imposing sanctions on those associated with Russian military/intelligence - State says threat is sufficient deterrent, so actual sanctions not needed, shows executive branch not implementing law correctly!