Role of Congress in foreign policy

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  • Created on: 23-05-14 11:17
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How meaningful is the role of Congress in foreign policy?
The Constitution allows Congress to share with the President over
responsibility for foreign policy, for example its power to ratify treaties made
by the President.
Congressional authorisation of troops is sometimes used, for example in
Iraq and Obama announced he would seek Congressional approval
before intervening in Syria
Finances the armed forces (power of the purse)- withdraw or limit
funding for military campaigns, for example Congress began to do this in
Vietnam and helped to end it
Congressional leaders attempt an alternative foreign policy to the
President. For example, Nancy Pelosi, then House Speaker, visited Syria
in 2007.
Significant presidential treaties can be rejected by Senate, for example
Clinton's 1990 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty failed to gain even a
simple majority.
Post Wolrd War Two executive branch has had much reponsbility
for the tone and direction of foreign policy, as shown in the Cold
War and the differing philosophies of the Presidents regarding
how the Cold War should be approached.
The President has a vast bureaucracy, for example the National
Security Council within EXOP, to advise the president on foreign
policy and help to implement it
The President is able to act as commander in chief without
needing Congress' approval, for example Obama in Libya in 2011
Congressional attempts to try to control power of the purse are
often unsuccessful- for example, Democrats in Congress
attempted from 2006-08 to impose a timeline for withdrawal
from Iraq, which failed.
The President can bypass the Senate's confirmation, for example
Clinton used executive orders in the 1990s to allow US
involvement in the Balkans War


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