War Powers of the President

Archive Report

Congress and the War in Viet Nam

Congress appeared to give President Johnson a vote of confidence in his handling of the Vietnamese war when both houses on March 1 approved a bill authorizing $4.8 billion in supplementary military funds. But the margin of approval —392 to 4 in the House, 93 to 2 in the Senate —was misleading. Many members who voted for the bill did so only to express support of the more than 200,000 American fighting men now in South Viet Nam.1 Widespread uneasiness over the course of the war, frequently expressed in and out of Congress in recent weeks, has not abated.

The Vietnamese conflict has reminded Congress that its constitutional power to declare war counts for little in today's world. It ...

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