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Congress Votes Under the War Powers Act

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NATO today continues to drop more missiles on Yugoslavia for the 35th night of bombings, for a second time hitting the headquarters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s ruling Socialist Party. Warplanes also continued to attack the Serb media, bombing several television and radio transmitters, even as diplomatic efforts to end the conflict intensify, with a top U.S. envoy in Moscow for talks with Russia.

This week, the War Powers Resolution, a widely ignored relic of the Vietnam War era designed to ensure the U.S. Congress has a say when the country goes to war, faces a rare test over the conflict in Kosovo. A House panel will consider two resolutions under the little-used act — one to force the end of U.S. military involvement in the Kosovo conflict and another seeking a formal declaration of war on Yugoslavia.

Even if rejected by the House International Relations Committee, as expected, both proposals are required under the War Powers Resolution to be taken up by the full House of Representatives. Those votes will be the first formal congressional debate on Kosovo since the NATO bombing began last March 24.

Guest:

  • Michael Ratner, attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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