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Showdown Looms On War Powers Issue

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 emergencies.

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 two-thirds.

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.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In this Associated Press article, journalist Jim Adams reports on struggles within the United States Congress to draft legislation that would limit the authority of the President to send United States forces into battle for longer than a few months. Believing that President Nixon would refuse to sign the bill into law with a Presidential veto, Adams reports on the Congress' attempts to write a bill that would gain the number of Congressional votes necessary to override a Presidential veto. By 1973, when this article was written, much of the United States was weary of the Vietnam War. Many citizens and their elected representatives in Congress had become concerned by the President's nearly unlimited authority to send United States troops into battle and to engage the country in war. With the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964, the House of Representatives and Senate had, by what was close to a unanimous vote, granted President Johnson broad powers to conduct the Vietnam War. This article illustrates that nearly a decade later, in 1973, the Congress is struggling to take back some of the war powers that it had so freely granted to the President nine years earlier.


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"Showdown Looms On War Powers Issue" article in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Recorder
author   Jim Adams
date   Oct 4, 1973
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   7.5"
width   4.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.053

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See Also...

"Senate Bill Would Limit U.S. Combat" article in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"Goldwater Backs President's Acts in Emergency" article in The Greenfield Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"ACLU Would Impeach Nixon" letter in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

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