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Specter: Congress Has Equal Say In War

From his fans at the Associated Press:


[Reuters caption:] U.S. senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) (R) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) (L) greet one another as they arrive for a news conference in support of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act at the Capitol in Washington January 9, 2007.

Specter: Bush Not Sole ‘Decision-Maker’

Sen. Specter Challenges Bush As Sole ‘Decision-Maker’ on Issues of War, Saying Duty Is Shared


WASHINGTON – A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush’s declaration that "I am the decision-maker" on issues of war.

"I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress’ war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. "The decider is a shared and joint responsibility," Specter said…

"The Constitution makes Congress a coequal branch of government. It’s time we start acting like it," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who is chairing a hearing Tuesday on Congress’ war powers and forwarding legislation to eventually prohibit funding for the deployment of troops to Iraq…

"Read the Constitution," Boxer told her colleagues last week. "The Congress has the power to declare war. And on multiple occasions, we used our power to end conflicts."

Congress used its war powers to cut off or put conditions on funding for the Vietnam war and conflicts in Cambodia, Somalia and Bosnia.

Under the Constitution, lawmakers have the ability to declare war and fund military operations, while the president has control of military forces.

But presidents also can veto legislation and Bush likely has enough support in Congress on Iraq to withstand any veto override attempts.

Managing a war in effect what Boxer and Feingold are proposing is the president’s job, some lawmakers and scholars say.

"In an ongoing operation, you’ve got to defer to the commander in chief," said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. But the veteran senator and former Navy secretary said he understands the debate over Congress’ ability to check the executive branch.

"Once Congress raises an army, it’s his to command," said Robert Turner, a law professor at the University of Virginia who was to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee…

In recent decades, presidents have routinely bypassed Congress when deploying troops to fight. Not since World War II has Congress issued an official declaration of war, despite lengthy wars fought in Vietnam and Korea.

Congress does not have to approve military maneuvers…

Has Mr. Specter ever read the US Constitution?

We don’t go by "Scottish Law" or any of his other addled fantasies.

Of course the Democrats, in their zeal to lose this war, ignore the basic facts, if they ever knew them. (No wonder Reuters can’t tell "Snarlin’ Arlen" from Tom Harkin.)

Once war has been declared — and it has — it is up to the executive branch to execute it.

Congress can either fund it or not. But that is the full extent of their war powers.

The Framers knew from hard experience that a war can’t be managed by committee.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 30th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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