Cooper-Church Amendment passes in Senate - HISTORY
Year
1970

Cooper-Church Amendment passes in Senate

The Senate votes 58 to 37 in favor of adopting the Cooper-Church amendment to limit presidential power in Cambodia. The amendment barred funds to retain U.S. troops in Cambodia after July 1 or to supply military advisers, mercenaries, or to conduct “any combat activity in the air above Cambodia in direct support of Cambodian forces” without congressional approval. The amendment represented the first limitation ever passed in the Senate concerning the president’s powers as commander-in-chief during a war situation. The House of Representatives rejected the amendment on July 9, and it was eventually dropped from the Foreign Military Sales Act.

In a written report on the U.S. incursion in Cambodia, President Nixon pronounced it a “successful” operation. Nixon ruled out the use of U.S. troops there in the future, suggesting that Cambodia’s defense would be left largely to Cambodia and its allies. Regarding the use of U.S. air power in Cambodia, Nixon stated that the United States would not provide air or logistical support for South Vietnamese forces in Cambodia, but would continue bombing enemy personnel and supply concentrations “with the approval of the Cambodian government.” Nixon noted that more than a year’s supply of weapons and ammunition had been captured and that 11,349 enemy soldiers were killed by Allied forces during the incursion into the area.

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