House Overwhelmingly Approves Gulf Resolution With AM-Gulf War-Washington, Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Following the Senate’s lead, the House on Friday overwhelmingly expressed its approval of the performance of President Bush and American troops in the Persian Gulf.
The symbolic resolution was approved 399 to 6, with six abstentions, a day after the Senate passed the same measure 98-0.
Last week, a majority of Democrats in both chambers voted against going to war, preferring to extend the sanctions against Iraq. Republicans who voted overwhelmingly with the president secured passage of the war authorization.
″Now we proceed to action united,″ House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., said Friday. ″The debate is behind us; the battle is upon us, and victory is before us.″
″In this resolution we transcend the real differences we have, for the specific purpose of supporting the president and our troops as they engage in battle,″ said House Minority Leader Bob Michel, R-Ill.
″How incomprehensible that must sound to Saddam Hussein ... and that perhaps is one of the distinctions to be made between a democracy and a dictatorship,″ he said.
The resolution reads:
″The Congress commends and supports the efforts and the leadership of the president as commander in chief in the Persian Gulf hostilities.″
″The Congress unequivocally supports the men and women of our armed forces who are carrying out their missions with professional excellence, dedicated patriotism and exemplary bravery.″
While the leaders spoke of bipartisan unity, some Republicans accused the Democrats who voted against Bush earlier of trying to protect themselves from criticism by voting for the new resolution.
″Could it be the Democrat leadership has been caught with their sanctions down?,″ said Rep. William Dannemeyer, R-Calif.
Rep. Ron Dellums, D-Calif., who opposed the president last week, was among those voting ″present″ on Friday’s resolution.
While ″it has never been a matter of debate in my mind that our troops must have our backing,″ Dellums said he could not bring himself to commend Bush for ordering the offensive.
Rep. Charles A. Hayes, D-Ill., who voted no, said he could not bring himself to say ″Amen, you are right, Mr. President ... I do not support the president’s action and never will. However, I will never abandon support for our troops,″
In addition to Hayes, voting ″no″ were Reps. Mervyn Dymally, D-Calif.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Gus Savage, D-Ill.; Craig Washington, D-Texas, and Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
Voting ″present,″ in addition to Dellums, were Reps. Cardiss Collins, D- Ill.; Henry B. Gonzalez, D-Texas; Major Owens, D-N.Y.; Donald M. Payne, D- N.J, and Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y.