In 1973, after the Vietnam War, Congress passed the War Powers Act which limits the ability of the President to send troops into a combat area without Congressional approval. Under this act, the President cannot keep troops in a combat area for more than 60 days (with an extension of 30 days) without declaring war or seeking a Congressional mandate. It is not spelled out what Congress can do if the President fails to meet the requirements of this law.
Friday, May 20th, is the deadline for the Libyan “kinectic” war. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Tenn., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Jon Cornyn, R-Texas have submitted a letter to President Obama stating that, “On March 19, 2011, you introduced the United States Armed Forces into hostilities in Libya.That action was taken without regard to,or compliance with,the requirement of section 2(c) of theWar Powers Resolution that the United States Armed Forces can only be introduced intohostilities or situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by thecircumstances ³pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) anational emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.'”
They ended the letter by asking President Obama if he will comply – “…Friday is the final day of the statutory sixty-day period for you to terminate theuse of the United States Armed Forces in Libya under the War Powers Resolution. Last week some in your Administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continueindefinitely, while others said you would act in a manner consistent with the War Powers Resolution.Therefore, we are writing to askwhether you intend to comply with the requirementsof the War Powers Resolution. We await your response…” The Letter Can Be Read Here: Senate Libya Letter
Will the President ignore this law? We will know soon.