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War Powers Act

The War Powers Act, also known as the War Powers Resolution, was a joint resolution of Congress passed in 1973 that placed statutory restraints on the president’s ability to use military force. It was passed during a period of congressional assertiveness in the wake of the unpopular Vietnam War and the emerging Watergate scandal. Notably, the act was passed over the veto of President Richard M. Nixon, and each subsequent administration has declared it to be unconstitutional. While the passage of the act was a symbolic victory for Congress over the presidency, it has had only marginal effect on the ability of the legislative branch to take back war-making powers that have been assumed by the executive branch during the 20th century.

The purpose of the ...

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