Instances in which congressional statutes have applied in overseas situations

Instances in which congressional statutes have applied in overseas situationsName



DateInstances in which congressional statutes have applied in overseas situationsCongress is the legislative branch of the United States government consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is responsible for making laws and balancing out the power of the executive and judicial arms of the government. The powers held by the congress include laying and collection of taxes, regulating commerce, borrowing loans, and declaring war. Under the U.S constitution, the congress is authorized to legislate only in the areas that are delegated to it. However, some congressional statutes do have extraterritorial application. Under the clause 17 Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution the congress has the power to exercise exclusive legislations in all cases whatsoever over the federal district and other territory relinquished to the federal government by the states. What is more, under the Article 4 of the United States constitution, the congress has the power to enact laws respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States. CITATION Kim18 l 1033 (Amadeo, 2018) This paper will focus on the instances in which the congressional statutes have applied to overseas situations and how they have impacted on the United States foreign policy.

The first instance is the 2012 budget that was passed in the late 2011 where the congress passed a cut into Obama’s foreign aid spending request by more than $8 billion. The 2011 budget cut off half a billion dollars from foreign aid spending. The foreign aid funds are especially targeted for cuts because the programs do not have a domestic constituency to cover them and the government could use the extra funds on fixing the problems back at home. The funding for Pakistan was withheld after the raid that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden which caused a rift with Pakistan whereby Pakistan reacted by cutting off U.S. supply routes to Afghanistan. Since this occurrence, the congress has clearly increased lapses on the funding by the United States government into Pakistan. CITATION Ton13 l 1033 (Jonhson, 2013)Almost similar to the Pakistan instance is the monetary aid to Egypt. Kay Granger in September 2012 prevented an impending USAID transfer of $450 million in emergency aid to Egypt. The decision was arrived on based on the religious activities in response to the rising influence of Muslim Brotherhood members in the politics of Egypt. Some U.S. lawmakers meant to make the aid conditional upon meeting certain standards thus the aid was held up in the congress.

The other instance is the 1919 and 1920 treaty of Versailles whereby the senate refused to approve the treaty as negotiated by Woodrow Wilson. The refusal was based on the concerns that the treaty would bind the united states to any decisions made by the League of Nations and could limit the congress from declaring war. In the United States government set up, treaties are negotiated by the executive arm of government but must be approved by two-thirds senate majority before its ratification. Therefore the senate can disapprove treaties, refuse to amend them or even attach reservations. The senate may also delay treaties just to coerce the white house into negotiating new terms or changes on the current treaties. In the case of Versailles, the treaty was disapproved by the senate.

Apart from the treaty of Versailles, during the Obama administration the Law of the Sea Convention, which codifies sovereign rights over marine resources and seeks to protect the oceans of the world, was disapproved by the senate in spite of the support from the military branches, major ocean corporations, and environmental groups.

Another instance is the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which is attached to the Trade Act of 1974. The amendment was precise that the Soviet Union must discontinue the practice of forcing Jews to pay exit to emigrate if it desired favorable trading relations with the United States. The congress in December 2012 voted to revoke Jackson-Vanik and instead granted normal trade relations to Russia. However, certain restrictions were attached to grant, that is, restriction of the travel of Russian officials guilty of connection to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer, and other human rights violations. This legislation was signed into law the same year by president Barrack Obama. CITATION Eri14 l 1033 (Posner, 2014)The other instance is the World War II where the congress declared war. The congress authorized war in a number of other cases such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Vietnam wars, and the 1991 Gulf war. In 1973, the congress passed the War Powers Resolution which overrides the veto by President Richard Nixon. CITATION War17 l 1033 (War Powers, 2017) It is therefore stipulated in the law that the president must; consult with the congress before expending the U.S. troops into wars, account commitment of U.S. forces within twenty-four hours, and end military action within sixty days if the congress does not declare war or authorize participation in the wars.

These actions by the congress though deemed to protect the United States in many instance is expected to create tension between the Whitehouse and the senate because of the foreign issues stimulated. The congress has been recorded to mess up the foreign policy for instance in the Pakistan affair whereby upon disapproval of foreign aid Pakistan closed the entry routes for the United States supplies to Afghanistan. Following the foreign policy disruption the U.S. stalled cyber security legislation in 2012 which has raised concerns on the inability of the congress to restore competing committee jurisdictions on important policies attached to national security. CITATION Tre17 l 1033 (Trevor Corning, Reema Dodin, Kyle Nevins, 2017)To sum up, there is need for the Whitehouse and the congressmen to work on restoration of a good relationship on national security which is aimed at containing national unity in crises such as terror attacks.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Amadeo, K. (2018, August 17). The Balance. Retrieved from The U.S. Congress and Its Powerful Impact on the Economy:

Jonhson, T. (2013). Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy. Council on Foreign Relations .

Posner, E. (2014). The case against human rights. The Guardian .

Trevor Corning, Reema Dodin, Kyle Nevins. (2017). Inside Congress: A guide for navigating the politics of the House and Senate floors. Washington D.C. : Brookings Institute Press.

War Powers. (2017, November 27). Retrieved from TheLlibrary of Congress:

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