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Congress & US Foreign Policy Congressional Power in Foreign & Military Policy In recent years, Congresses have tended to try to curb and take away from.

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Presentation on theme: "Congress & US Foreign Policy Congressional Power in Foreign & Military Policy In recent years, Congresses have tended to try to curb and take away from."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Congress & US Foreign Policy

3 Congressional Power in Foreign & Military Policy In recent years, Congresses have tended to try to curb and take away from the presidency some of the prerogatives that belong there – the handling of foreign policy and so forth – and placed restrictions on the office that in effect would have foreign policy determined by a committee of 535. President Ronald Reagan, 1986

4 Congressional Power in Foreign & Military Policy Congress is a conservative organization It is cautious It is cautious It is reluctant to initiate change It is reluctant to initiate change It responds to old stimuli better than new It responds to old stimuli better than new It cares more about interest group interests and maintaining status quo It cares more about interest group interests and maintaining status quo Members of Congress may take initiatives, but not Congress as an institution Members of Congress may take initiatives, but not Congress as an institution Congressman Les Aspin, 1976 Congressman Les Aspin, 1976

5 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1.Congressional Leadership Congress is more than a respondent Congress is more than a respondent (challenging) the initiator-respondent model (challenging) the initiator-respondent model President initiates, Congress accepts, rejects or modifies 1957, Sputnik launch 1957, Sputnik launch President did not see danger President did not see danger Senate Armed Services Committee held hearing Senate Armed Services Committee held hearing Supported by Lyndon B. Johnson Supported by Lyndon B. Johnson Created NASA to run a space program Created NASA to run a space program

6 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1.Congressional Leadership Congress is more than a respondent Congress is more than a respondent 1957, Sputnik launch 1957, Sputnik launch Passed National Defense Education Act to fund science & foreign language education Passed National Defense Education Act to fund science & foreign language education 1973, War Powers Act 1973, War Powers Act Initiated the Act Initiated the Act Overrode Nixon’s veto Overrode Nixon’s veto 1974, Arms Embargo to Turkey 1974, Arms Embargo to Turkey Against Ford’s opposition, Congress imposed embargo for Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus Against Ford’s opposition, Congress imposed embargo for Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus

7 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1.Congressional Leadership Congress is more than a respondent Congress is more than a respondent 1957, Sputnik launch 1957, Sputnik launch 1973, War Powers Act 1973, War Powers Act 1974, Arms Embargo to Turkey 1974, Arms Embargo to Turkey 1975, Congress denied President emergence military aid to S Vietnam 1975, Congress denied President emergence military aid to S Vietnam Ensured the fall of Saigon Ensured the fall of Saigon 1986, Sanctions on South Africa 1986, Sanctions on South Africa Overrode presidential veto Overrode presidential veto

8 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight For oversight arguments For oversight arguments 1. Congress must do more than just legislating 2. It should ensure executive carrying out laws 3. Guard against imperial presidency & bureaucratic arrogance Lee H. Hamilton (D-Indiana) 4. Ensure bureaucrats do not act stupid Wyche Fowler (D-George) 4. Ensure bureaucrats do not act stupid Wyche Fowler (D-George)

9 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight Has Congress done a good job in overseeing? Has Congress done a good job in overseeing? “a neglected function” (John Bibby, pol scientist) “a neglected function” (John Bibby, pol scientist) Law-makers prefer law-making to claim credit Law-makers prefer law-making to claim credit Congressional assertiveness in oversight Congressional assertiveness in oversight 1976, creation of a permanent intelligence oversight committee by Senate 1976, creation of a permanent intelligence oversight committee by Senate 1977, creation of a House oversight committee on intelligence 1977, creation of a House oversight committee on intelligence

10 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight Congressional assertiveness in oversight Congressional assertiveness in oversight 2003, a congressional Joint Committee on Intelligence 2003, a congressional Joint Committee on Intelligence Examine the failure of intelligence community to warn Americans about al Qaeda and its plan to attack the U.S. Examine the failure of intelligence community to warn Americans about al Qaeda and its plan to attack the U.S. 3. Senatorial Consent & Advice International treaties International treaties

11 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight 3. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Treaties) International Treaties International Treaties 2/3 majority approval by Senate 2/3 majority approval by Senate 16 rejections 16 rejections The Versailles Treaty of 1919 The Versailles Treaty of 1919 Can president end an int’l treaty? Can president end an int’l treaty? Executive Agreements Executive Agreements No senatorial consent & advice required No senatorial consent & advice required 1972 Case-Zablocki Act 1972 Case-Zablocki Act Inform Congress of an executive agreement Inform Congress of an executive agreement

12 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight 3. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Treaties) 4. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Appointment) Hold privilege Hold privilege Senator Jesse Helms use the privilege to delay appointment of Robert Pastor as ambassador to Panama, 1994 (Pastor did not survive the confirmation process) Senator Jesse Helms use the privilege to delay appointment of Robert Pastor as ambassador to Panama, 1994 (Pastor did not survive the confirmation process) Senator Jesse Helms blocked Governor William Weld’s appointment as ambassador to Mexico for his support of medical use of Marijuana Senator Jesse Helms blocked Governor William Weld’s appointment as ambassador to Mexico for his support of medical use of Marijuana

13 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight 3. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Treaties) 4. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Appointment) 5. Appropriations (Power of the Purse) Over when & where US goes to war Over when & where US goes to war Over the fate of an existing funding Over the fate of an existing funding 1970, Senate shut off funding for military operations into Cambodia 1970, Senate shut off funding for military operations into Cambodia

14 Congressional Power in Foreign Policy 1. Congressional Leadership 2. Congressional Oversight 3. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Treaties) 4. Senatorial Consent & Advice (Appointment) 5. Appropriations (Power of the Purse) 6. War Making War declaration 1973, War Powers Act

15 Limitations of Congressional Power in Foreign Policy Parochialism (Kegley & Wittkopf, 1987) Parochialism (Kegley & Wittkopf, 1987) President has a national constituency whereas members of Congress are narrowly based President has a national constituency whereas members of Congress are narrowly based Preoccupation with reelection => pressures to attend to parochial interests Preoccupation with reelection => pressures to attend to parochial interests Interest in foreign policy issues is short-lived Interest in foreign policy issues is short-lived More interested in newsworthy foreign policy issues More interested in newsworthy foreign policy issues Members of Congress are not awarded for being national-minded Members of Congress are not awarded for being national-minded Members of Congress devote time to committee work Members of Congress devote time to committee work Interested in committee assignment relevant to their home interests Interested in committee assignment relevant to their home interests

16 Limitations of Congressional Power in Foreign Policy Parochialism (Kegley & Wittkopf, 1987) Parochialism (Kegley & Wittkopf, 1987) Organizational Weaknesses Organizational Weaknesses The center of decision-making in Congress is diffuse and fragmented (decision-making power to sub- committees) The center of decision-making in Congress is diffuse and fragmented (decision-making power to sub- committees) Decision-making is open and before public eyes (Executive Branch: closed door decision) Decision-making is open and before public eyes (Executive Branch: closed door decision) No single voice out of 535 power centers No single voice out of 535 power centers Leaks of information Leaks of information Executive privilege to conceal, classified info, from Congress, thus underlying Congressional foreign policy decision capability Executive privilege to conceal, classified info, from Congress, thus underlying Congressional foreign policy decision capability

17 Limitations of Congressional Power in Foreign Policy Parochialism (Kegley & Wittkopf, 1987) Parochialism (Kegley & Wittkopf, 1987) Organizational Weaknesses Organizational Weaknesses Lack of Expertise Lack of Expertise Don’t command information Don’t command information Don’t control flow of information Don’t control flow of information


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