Showdown Looms On War Powers Issue
By JIM ADAMS
Associated Press Writer
House-Senate conferees were expected to disclose today a compromise bill to
limit a president's war powers, setting the stage for a showdown on the issue
between President Nixon and Congress.
The compromise reportedly would prohibit presidents from committing U.S. troops
for more than 60 days without congressional approval, or 90 days for specified
The 90-day limit for such special emergencies as protection of U.S. troops
withdrawing from a combat commitment reportedly would be permitted only if a
president notified Congress he needed the extra 30 days.
The compromise involves versions of two war powers bills passed by the House
and Senate. Both houses now must consider the compromise.
President Nixon had said he would veto both the original House and Senate bills.
The 60-to-90 day time limit is a compromise between a 30-day limit in the Senate
bill and a 120-day limit in the House version.
Another difference between the House and Senate bills was whether to define
the emergency conditions under which a president could commit troops abroad
for even a short period of time without congressional approval.
The original Senate bill defined such emergency conditions as the need to repel
an attack upon the United States or U.S. armed forces abroad or to protect U.S.
citizens and nationals being evacuated from a "direct and imminent threat
to their lives."
Such definitions were removed from the House bill in committee when it was
argued that they could have the reverse effect of seeming to grant presidents
constitutional powers to make war.
Whether Congress could over-ride a veto of the war powers bill is in doubt.
The House passed its original bill 244 to 170, or 32 votes short of the two-thirds
needed to override a president's veto.
The Senate bill was approved on a 71-18 vote, 11 votes more than the necessary
Although the Senate seemed to have the votes to override, the bill would first
go to the House, and if sustained there the bill would die since a presidential
veto would be overriden by both houses.