From remarks by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) before the Senate on Oct. 10:
The drafters of the Constitution clearly intended that the use of the nation's armed forces would be a shared power between the legislative and executive branches. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to declare war. Article II, Section 2 makes the president the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In the critical situation we are now facing in the Persian Gulf, it is especially important for Congress and the administration to respect and preserve this delicate constitutional balance.
. . . To encourage the administration to respect the Constitution and seek the advance approval of Congress before taking the country into war, I am introducing a Senate resolution setting up a consultative group of senators who will be available at all times to meet with the president in the remaining days of the session and while Congress is in adjournment. The group will be appointed by the majority and minority leaders; it will be bipartisan; and it will hold regular weekly meetings during the adjournment of Congress.
. . . The president has no right to arrogate the war-making power to himself. It will be a gross abdication by Congress of our own responsibility if we fail to insist that President Bush must abide by the Constitution at this critical turning point in the life of the nation, the Middle East and the world.
This is not Panama or Grenada. We do not want to wake up one morning soon and find America at war in the desert because Congress put its head in the sand.