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Will President Obama Willingly Violate the War Powers Act?

May 21, 2011

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It’s been two months since the president sent Congress a letter announcing the U.S.-led mission in Libya. And now, 60 days later, Obama’s time frame for securing Congressional approval has expired.  The 1973 War Powers Act requires that the president get congressional authorization at the end of the two-month mark.  If permission isn’t granted, the mission must conclude within 30 days.

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg recently testified that the president has operated under the War Powers Resolution since the beginning of the Libya mission and that he will continue to do so.  But, unless the president has plans to make major changes to U.S. involvement in the mission or find another work-around plan today, he will find himself violating federal law.

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