Collegiate teams to debate presidential war powers

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 University of Virginia’s Miller Center. The first debate is being hosted by The George Washington University Writing Program and will be held at GWU's Jack Morton Auditorium. It begins at 6 p.m. GWU’s Jack Morton Auditorium is located at 805 21st St., NW.

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

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who, along with Arizona Sen. John McCain is leading an effort to update the 1973 War Powers Resolution, will deliver opening remarks. In announcing the endeavor, Kaine said he wants 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.

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

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.

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 2013-14 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 topic.

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

Contact: Paul Mabrey (CEDA), 540-568-4002 or

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Sept. 5, 2013

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