Congress and foreign policy

Congress and foreign policy - Congress has used its power...

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Congress and foreign policy The constitutional function of Congress is essentially to act as a check on presidential  power. Only Congress can declare war, and the Senate must approve all treaties and  confirm the president's nominees for ambassadorial and cabinet positions. Congress  has additional authority through its appropriation and oversight functions. As must all  government programs, the operations of foreign policy must be funded. Congress can  cut or increase foreign aid or the budget for a defense project. It can set restrictions on  the length of time American troops are deployed during an international crisis by  refusing to pay for them beyond a certain date. The Foreign Affairs and Intelligence  Committees of both the House and the Senate have investigated the Iran-Contra affair  as well as the operations of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 
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Unformatted text preview: Congress has used its power to make laws that specifically limit the freedom of action of the president in foreign policy. The Neutrality Acts (1935–1937) are an early example. The 1973 War Powers Act, which was a direct response to the Vietnam War, requires that Congress be consulted whenever the president is ready to commit American troops. It puts a 60-day limit on their deployment (with an additional month for withdrawal) without further congressional approval. Vetoed by President Nixon and generally opposed by his successors, the act's effectiveness has been questioned. Still, President George H. W. Bush sought the support of Congress before the Persian Gulf War, as did President Bill Clinton to send troops to Somalia and Bosnia. Congress also authorized the use of force in Iraq in the fall of 2002....
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