Rep. Davis Statement on the War Powers Resolution


January 9, 2020

Today, I rise in strong support of this resolution reasserting the primacy of the Congress in the power to wage war.

In our democracy, under our Constitution, we do not give the awful power to wage war to one individual because the history of nations has taught us the dangers of concentrating such power in a single hand.

The costs of war are so enormous, the resulting consequences to our nation are so immense, that since the founding of our nation we have determined that only the collective, reasoned judgement of our elected representatives should have that power.

In this nuclear age, when it is conceivable that millions might die unless deterrent action is taken in a matter of minutes, we draw a distinction between self defense in an emergency and the use of offensive military force in any other circumstance. History has also taught us the dangers of blurring that distinction.

War is the result of failure – the failure to account for human frailty, the failure of diplomacy, the failure to find timely alternative interventions to great social, economic, religious, or ideological conflicts.  Sadly, we have learned from real life, after seemingly endless war, often nothing has fundamentally changed, but the resulting human and economic costs are monstrous.  In these times we live in, the danger of a war spinning out of control and the costs of war demand of this Congress that we never forget those lessons.

How far we have strayed from the words of President Eisenhower who said:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”