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Iraq—Congress’ Authority to Act

Sending an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq will hurt, not enhance, U.S. national security and the American people; their representatives and the military commanders on the ground strongly oppose this course of action. Can Congress do anything about it?

Tomorrow night at 9PM, President Bush will address the nation and announce an escalation in the war in Iraq by sending about 20,000 more U.S. troops. Sending an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq will hurt, not enhance, U.S. national security and the American people; their representatives and the military commanders on the ground strongly oppose this course of action. Can Congress do anything about it? Some have claimed that anything other symbolic action is unconstitutional. That’s false. While funding for troops currently in Iraq and Afghanistan must continue and be protected, many legal experts agree there are a range of legal options available to Congress to stop, or place conditions on, any escalation in the war in Iraq. As a new report from the Center for American Progress illustrates, Congress has passed bills and enacted into law policies that capped the size of military deployments, prohibited funding for existing or prospective deployment, and placed limits and conditions on the timing and nature of deployments.

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