- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

The House of Representatives last night gave final congressional approval to a resolution authorizing President Bush to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against the perpetrators of Tuesday's deadly hijack attacks.
The use-of-force resolution, which won unanimous Senate backing yesterday, gives Mr. Bush the green light to strike both individuals and nations that he determines "planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks."
Congress yesterday also voted unanimously to provide $40 billion for disaster relief and for retaliation against the people and governments responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
"We do not do so gladly or with a bitter sense of revenge," said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican. "We do so because we must preserve freedom and democracy in our nation."
The resolution authorizing the use of military force passed 98-0 in the Senate and 420-1 in the House late last night. The only dissenting vote came from Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat. The funding bill passed unanimously, 96-0 in the Senate and 422-0 in the House.
The votes come in the wake of a Time/CNN poll showing that 81 percent of Americans favor assassinations of leaders responsible for the terrorist attacks on America. The poll also showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans think the U.S. should declare war as a result of Tuesday's attacks, but almost as many said they do not know on whom to declare war.
The Senate chamber was unusually quiet during its votes yesterday.
Senators sat solemnly at their desks, rising only to respond "aye" when their names were called by the clerk. Adding an eerie air, the 500 balcony seats surrounding the chamber — normally reserved for visitors — were empty, the Capitol all but closed to the public.
"This has been an historic day, in what has been quite an historic week," Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said after the votes.
"Once again, the Senate has pulled together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans, responding to a crisis in a way that Americans expect," the South Dakota Democrat said.
Minority Leader Trent Lott praised both parties for coming together to act quickly.
"We could argue the legalisms, we could parse over every word," said Mr. Lott, Mississippi Republican. "But the Senate, united like I have never seen it before, chose not to do that."
In the House, Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young, Florida Republican, said, "Words cannot express the pride I feel for the members of this Congress. We may have our political differences, but today we are unifying as a nation, unifying as a government. On the issue of defending our people we will never be divided," Mr. Young said.
New York lawmakers thanked their colleagues.
"We New Yorkers pride ourselves on being tough, but we cannot bear this terrible burden alone," said Rep. Nita M. Lowey, New York Democrat. "Thank you for your help."
Rep. Vito J. Fossella, New York Republican, said 10 of his neighbors are still missing. Still, he said, "I have been in that wreckage and there is no greater spirit, no greater resolve to turn this heinous act into our finest hour."
Reaching agreement on the spending bill included a battle over who would control the money and a criticism from some conservative Republicans that New York lawmakers were taking advantage of the crisis to "earmark" extra spending for their state.
Late Thursday, as negotiators tried to rebuild the deal, news of another team of reputed terrorists being arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport filtered into the room.
Mr. Young then told the collected lawmakers, "They have just had a SWAT team storm an airplane and we're quibbling over whether to use the words 'shall' or 'may.' The American people, if they could see us, would be ashamed."
However, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said the deliberations were part of the normal discourse of a democracy.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide