Before the 101st Congress goes home, House Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., hopes to get approval to recall it in the event of war.
Foley told reporters Friday he and Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell will take the unusual step of getting resolutions passed so they could reconvene Congress if they think events in the Persian Gulf warrant it.Foley said that in the House such a resolution would permit him and House Republican leader Bob Michel of Illinois to choose committee heads and leaders to confer on whether to reconvene the full Congress.
Technically, when Congress recesses "sine die" - probably on Saturday - it is out of business until the 102nd Congress starts Jan. 3 unless Bush recalls it. Also technically, only Congress may declare war; in reality, that does not happen these days, and many legislators don't want the responsibility.
Foley said a formal declaration of war by Congress was "archaic" when nuclear war with the Soviet Union was a possibility.
But with commitment of 210,000 troops now in the gulf region and the possibility of more being sent there, Foley said Congress should be consulted if war is contemplated.