Congress has agreed on a resolution authorizing the President to use military force against those found to be responsible for Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Earlier, lawmakers approved a $40-billion anti-terrorism package. The measures now await President Bush's signature.
The Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate acted with unusual swiftness and unity in passing the measures. "I have never seen a better example of us standing together, working together, swallowing our legalistic desire, our budgetary restraint feeling," said Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott. "These are different times. We have got to act decisively. The American people expect it of us, and they will expect nothing less."
The resolution giving the President authority to use "necessary and appropriate force" against the terrorists was drafted to show support for Mr. Bush while protecting Congress' Constitutional role in overseeing military actions.
Some lawmakers had argued the resolution was not necessary, while others said it did not go far enough. But at the end of the day, there was agreement.
"We must grant the President the fullest authority to employ all of the resources of the United States to make war on our enemies, to destroy their ability to harm us, and to defend our beloved country," said Republican Henry Hyde, Chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
Earlier, the House and Senate approved a $40-billion emergency-spending package. President Bush initially asked for $20-billion, but the amount was doubled at the request of New York lawmakers.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who accompanied Mr. Bush to New York to survey the damage, praised the President's reaction to the crisis. "I want to thank the President. When I asked him to help us, he did not bat an eye. He said 'I will help you.' I said we need $20-billion in addition to the supplemental. He said 'I am for it.' That was a tremendous, tremendous boost for us," the Senator said.
The aid package will fund disaster recovery and boost anti-terrorism efforts.