Rice expert available to discuss Senate vote to end support for Saudi-led war in Yemen

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


David Ruth

Amy McCaig

Rice expert available to discuss Senate vote to end support for Saudi-led war in Yemen

HOUSTON – (Nov. 30, 2018) – The U.S. Senate has advanced a measure to withdraw American support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. If successful, it will be the first time since the War Powers Act was passed in 1973 that it has been used to end a foreign operation.

Photo credit: 123rf.com

Photo credit: 123rf.com

Ric Stoll, Rice University’s Albert Thomas Professor of Political Science, is available to discuss the War Powers Act. Its essential elements, he says, and the rationale behind its existence are:

  1. The president should “in every possible instance” consult with Congress before putting U.S. armed forces into hostilities or into a situation where hostilities seem imminent.
  2. The President should consult regularly with Congress until U.S. forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed.
  3. Within 60 days after a report is submitted, the president must terminate the use of U.S. armed forces unless Congress has specifically authorized the use of force through a declaration of war or a resolution supporting the military operation.

Richard Stoll“The War Powers Act was the congressional response to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War,” Stoll said. “Congress did pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution but never declared war and ultimately felt that presidents did not actively involve Congress in the decision-making of the war.”

Stoll noted that the War Powers Act was only passed after U.S. involvement on the ground in Vietnam had ended. Its constitutionality, he says, has always been a subject of debate.

“Advocates say that it is constitutional because it is Congress that has the right to declare war,” Stoll said. “Opponents say it infringes on the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief. The only way to establish its constitutionality is to have a case brought to the Supreme Court and to have them rule on this issue.”

No president has complied with the War Powers Act, Stoll said.

“There have been a number of times when presidents have informed Congress about the deployment of forces and sometimes they have even asked for a congressional resolution of support for the deployment of forces,” he said. “But never has a president said this was being done because of the War Powers Act.”

In addition, Congress has never invoked the act, Stoll said.

As for the latest attempt, Stoll said that while he can see Congress passing a resolution, he finds it difficult to believe it will actually invoke the War Powers Act.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Stoll, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu.


This news release can be found online at news.rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations on Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

Stoll bio: https://politicalscience.rice.edu/richard-stoll

Photo link: https://news.rice.edu/files/2014/04/ric-stoll.jpg

Photo credit: Rice University

Photo link: https://news.rice.edu/files/2018/11/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-123rf-1afey6s.jpg

Photo credit: 123rf.com

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.