WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday rejected legislation that would have forced President Reagan to invoke the War Powers Act to allow Congress to decide if American warships and servicemen should stay in the Persian Gulf.
The Senate voted 50-41 to kill the amendment to the $303-billion defense authorization bill for 1988, which would have marked the first use of the statute adopted during the Vietnam War to curb a President's ability to launch military action.
The measure by Sens. Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.), and Brock Adams (D-Wash.), was billed as further "veto bait" by opponents. The 1973 law requires a President, once U.S. forces are introduced into an area of imminent hostilities, to report to Congress. The U.S. forces must be withdrawn if Congress does not declare war within 60 days or specifically authorize an extension.
The United States, at Kuwait's request, re-registered 11 tankers under the U.S. flag and in July began providing escorts to those ships in the Persian Gulf. Kuwait's shipping had come under attack from Iranian forces because of Kuwait's support for Iraq in the seven-year Iran-Iraq War.