H.R. 6233, A Bill to expedite the prosecution of the war effort (First War Powers Act), December 15, 1941
Congress approved the First War Powers Act in 1941 to improve the nation’s efficiency in fighting World War II. It empowered President Franklin D. Roosevelt to reorganize the executive branch, federal agencies, and government corporations. A Second War Powers Act of 1942 allowed the president to allocate resources for national defense.
Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records
Congress Grants Power to Wartime Presidents
The Constitution authorizes Congress to pass legislation necessary to execute the powers and responsibilities of the federal government. During the First and Second World Wars, Congress temporarily granted extraordinary power to the president to expedite certain wartime policies. The Department Reorganization Act (Overman Act) of 1918 gave President Woodrow Wilson broad authority to create or reorder government agencies. The War Powers Acts of 1941 and 1942 granted President Franklin D. Roosevelt extensive powers to support the war effort and provide for the nation’s defense.
This bill merely gives the President . . . powers that are necessary to win the war, but powers that should be returned to the Congress when the war has been won.
Representative Hamilton Fish, Speech to the U.S. House of Representatives, December 16, 1941