Obama to ignore War Powers Act

The Obama administration has told the House of Representatives that it will not abide by the War Powers Act:

The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.

Clinton was responding to a question from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) about the administration’s response to any effort by Congress to exercise its war powers, according to a senior Republican lawmaker who attended the briefing.

The answer surprised many in the room because Clinton plainly admitted the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama’s power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions. In doing so, he would follow a long line of Presidents who have ignored the act since its passage, deeming it an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power.

Note that the last sentence isn’t true. Yes, all presidents have taken the position that the War Powers Act violates the president’s power as commander-in-chief, but no, they have not ignored the act. The president and the Congress have always avoided a head-on collision over the Act. For example, the president has always either withdrawn the troops or sought (and received) Congressional approval before the deadline, even while maintaining he was not required to so.

That’s what is so remarkable about the administration’s declaration that it will not follow the Act. He is abandoning the tacit agreement between the two branches that Congress will not infringe on the president’s war-making power provided that the president follows Congress’s process.

Why is President Obama doing this? I think we’re seeing a continuation of a pattern we’ve seen since early in Obama’s presidential campaign. Barack Obama is unable to admit to making a mistake. He cannot bring himself to go back and get Congressional approval now, but he knows this war is unlikely to be done within 90 days. And thus he has set the two branches on a collision course.

Can you imagine the reaction had President Bush done this? The legacy media and the left (but I repeat myself) would have seen it as proof that we are on the fast path to fascism or something. But from Obama, we get little more than ho-hum.

(Via the Corner.)

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