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War Powers Debates Press Release

Collegiate Teams to Debate Presidential War Powers in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 10 Sen. Tim Kaine will deliver opening remarks about effort to update War Powers Resolution

Six collegiate debate teams will face off on the issue of presidential war powers in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the first of a series of debates sponsored by the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. The debate will begin at 6 pm and take place at The George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium.

Participating teams include George Washington University, Georgetown University, James Madison University, Mary Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), who, along with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), is leading an effort to update the 1973 War Powers Resolution, will deliver opening remarks. In announcing their joint endeavor, Kaine and McCain said they want to lay out a clear consultative process between Congress and the president on whether and when to engage in military action and called the recommendations of the Miller Center’s War Powers Commission “a strong starting point.”  Debaters will focus on these recommendations.

The War Powers Commission, chaired by former Secretaries of State James Baker and Warren Christopher, issued a unanimous report in 2007 calling for the repeal of the War Powers Resolution and replacing it with a proposed War Powers Consultation Act, which:

  • Provides that the president shall consult with Congress before deploying U.S. troops into “significant armed conflict”—i.e., combat operations lasting, or expected to last, more than a week.
  • Defines the types of hostilities that would or would not be considered “significant armed conflicts.”
  • Creates a new Joint Congressional Consultation Committee, which includes leaders of both houses as well as the chair and ranking members of key committees.
  • Establishes a permanent bipartisan staff with access to the national security and intelligence information necessary to conduct its work.
  • Calls on Congress to vote up or down on significant armed conflicts within 30 days.

Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, director and CEO the Miller Center, will moderate the debate.

The host is The George Washington University Writing Program. The Jack Morton Auditorium is located 805 21st St., NW.

The Miller Center and CEDA will sponsor three more debates on the war-powers issue. Subsequent debates will focus on warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention and drone strikes.

CEDA is an organization that helps govern the collegiate academic debate community. For the 2013-2014 academic year, members of the debate community selected a debate topic that focuses on restricting current presidential war powers. Thousands of undergraduate students and coaches will spends countless hours researching and debating the war powers.

The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history and strives to apply the lessons of history to the nation’s most pressing contemporary governance challenges. More information about the War Power Commission Report can be found at


Kristy Schantz (Miller Center), 202-758-3918,

Paul Mabrey (CEDA), 540-568-4002,