House Battle Looms Over Libya War

June 3rd, 2011 - by admin

Jason Ditz / & NewsCore / Fox News & Sam Youngman / The Hill – 2011-06-03 01:07:43

House Battle Over Libya War Looms as Boehner Offers Alternative Resolution

House Battle Over Libya War
Looms as Boehner Offers Alternative Resolution

Jason Ditz /

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2011) — Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) bill demanding an end to the war in Libya was blocked earlier this week over fears that it might pass, but after the Sherman Amendment on defunding the war narrowly failed, the House leadership seems a bit more bold, and is setting up a battle.

Now, in addition to Kucinich’s bill, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is also offering a hugely watered-down alternative bill. Instead of demanding an end to the war, Boehner’s bill will express annoyance that President Obama did not seek authorization and gives the president an additional 14-day grace period to do so.

The Sherman vote was seen as a trial for Congressional opinion on the war, but a 208-213 defeat (with both parties split virtually down the middle) suggests a dead heat, and it is certainly conceivable that 3 representatives could jump ship when Kucinich’s vote comes up, mandating the end to the war.

Which has led the administration to angrily condemn Kucinich, with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warning Kucinich’s call for a “unilateral” end to US involvement in the war was “dangerous” and showed a lack of unity. The White House insisted the war was going well and opposed the vote, saying they were confident Congress already agrees with it.

But since the May 20 deadline for authorization slipped (and requests for authorization only came on the evening of the 20th) the war is already illegal. Though some of the usual pro-war Senators are pushing an authorization bill in the Senate it seems unlikely that support exists in the House to actually authorize a third war. The real question is if there is enough support in the House to end it.

House Rejects Bill to Defund
NATO Operations in Libya

NewsCore / Fox News

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2011) — The US House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill Thursday which would have prevented funds from being used to support US operations in the NATO-led air campaign in Libya.

Offered by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the amendment, which would have banned funds from being “used in contravention of war powers resolution,” was defeated in a close 213-208 vote. A switch of a mere three votes would have seen the measure pass.

The War Powers Act of 1973 requires the White House to request authority from Congress to engage in any military operations overseas lasting more than 60 days. Sherman and others argue that President Barack Obama is outside the scope of the War Powers Act and must get a blessing from Congress to continue current operations against Col. Moamar Ghadafi in Libya.

The vote on Sherman’s amendment is separate from another Libya resolution authored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), which is expected to come up on the House floor Friday and which seeks an immediate withdrawal of US forces from the NATO-led campaign in the war-torn country.

Republican leadership has warned that many of its members may support the anti-war congressman’s resolution due to dissatisfaction with the lack of a “clear mission.” House Republicans were meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss how to vote on the measure, which is causing a political headache for the White House.

House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) admitted that the situation in Libya made for an odd political alliance. “It’s counterintuitive to think that we would support Dennis Kucinich,” Cantor said Thursday, according to Roll Call magazine. “I mean, here’s a guy who’s anti-war, anti-military, and we’re going to support him?” The Pentagon has declared its firm opposition to the Kucinich resolution, calling it “dangerous.”

“Secretary Gates believes that for the United States, once committed to a NATO operation, to unilaterally abandon that mission would have enormous and dangerous long-term consequences,” spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement.

White House Pushes Back on Efforts to End Libya Intervention
Sam Youngman / The Hill

WASHINGTON (June 2, 2011) — The White House said Thursday that President Obama believes the NATO mission in Libya is succeeding, and he is opposed to ending that mission right now. With a number of Democrats and some Republicans pushing for an end to US involvement in the mission, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president believes most members agree with the mission.

“We believe that the policy is working,” Carney said. “We believe the goal the president has is shared by the majority of the members of Congress.” Carney said the president has held true to his word that the US would step back from its leadership position in the bombing campaign after the early days of the mission.

And, Carney said, the White House has “consulted Congress every step of the way.”

US and NATO efforts have been key to saving lives in Libya, Carney said. “Beyond the consultation with Congress, I think the president believes very strongly that we’re doing the right thing here,” Carney said.

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