Countdown to the Day the War Powers Resolution Runs Out

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 9 2011 12:15 PM

Countdown to the Day the War Powers Resolution Runs Out

At 3 p.m. on May 20, it will have been 62 days since the United States commenced military operations and opened a no fly zone over Libya, and 60 days since the president sent Congress a letter explaining the mission. According to most interpretations of the War Powers Resolution, May 20 is the day that the president's authority runs out; by that point, Congress needs to authorize force or declare war?

So what's this Congress doing? Not yet clear. On May 12, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations committee and talk about the situation in Libya.

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"We're going to wait for that hearing on Thursday," said a spokesman for committee chairman John Kerry. "We expect to hear more about this issue at that hearing."

There's not much more talk yet about what will happen when the president's authority runs out. Before the killing of Osama bin Laden, one got the sense that support for the NFZ was wan and fading. Now?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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