Congress Needs to Take Back National Security Power

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The separation of powers is one of the instrumental components of American democracy.  The President of the United States, as the saying goes, isn’t a king who can do whatever he wants regardless of the concerns of the other branches of the government.  The separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution provides just as much power to the legislative branch — powers that Members of Congress have regrettably been too politically reserved to use to its full effect.  

The system of checks and balances, however, is only as good as the balance between the White House and Congress.  Over the past 15 years, the balance has been out of whack; while the concept of an “imperial presidency” sounds overly dramatic, the White House has in fact been steadily and effectively chipping away at the prerogatives of Congress to acquire more power for itself.  If the post-Watergate and Vietnam period was a perfect opportunity for Congress to take back some of the foreign policy reigns (the War Powers Act was passed in 1973), the September 11 attacks and the subsequent war on terrorism was a godsend for White House lawyers who firmly believed in an all-powerful executive during wartime.  

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