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CRS: Congressional Use of Funding Cutoffs Since 1970 Involving U.S. Military Forces and Overseas Deployments

Author: Richard F. Grimmett
January 10, 2001

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In cases of significant differences with the President over foreign policy, especially
deployments of U.S. military forces abroad, Congress has generally found that use of its Constitutionally-based "power of the purse" to be the most effective way to compel a President to take actions regarding use of U.S. military force overseas that he otherwise might not agree to. Thus, on various occasions since the Vietnam War era, Congress has used funding cutoffs or significant restrictions on the use of funds as a means of ending or circumscribing the use of U.S. military personnel for foreign operations. As the examples in this report indicate, the use of funding cutoffs and restrictions to curtail or terminate the President's use of U.S. military force abroad has proven to be much more efficacious in giving effect to Congress's policy views in this area than has the War Powers Resolution.

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