Friday, June 24, 2011

US House of Representatives sends Obama message on Libya

President Barack Obama asked Congress for the authority for US military operations against Libya. On Friday the House of Representatives sent a resounding vote of no. In a repudiation of the commander in chief, the House voted overwhelmingly against a resolution that would have favored letting the mission continue for one year while barring American ground forces.

Even after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a final hour plea the vote was 295-123, with 70 Democrats abandoning Obama's stance on Libya. The Republican leader of the House, Speaker John Boehner, said he supported the president's authority as commander in chief. "But when the president chooses to challenge the powers of the Congress, I as speaker of the House will defend the constitutional authority of the Legislature," he said.

House Republicans and some Democrats are furious with Obama for failing to seek congressional authorization as required under the War Powers Resolution. The 1973 law, often ignored by Republican and Democratic presidents, says the commander in chief must seek congressional consent for military actions within 60 days. That deadline has long passed.

Earlier this month, the House voted 268-145 to rebuke Obama for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for the Libyan mission and for launching US military forces without congressional approval.

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