House declines to authorize intervention in Libya
On Friday, the House of Representatives declined to authorize President Barack Obama’s illegal intervention in Libya by a 123 to 295 vote:
Members of Congress sent an embarrassing message to President Obama by voting to reject a formal authorization of the use of force in Libya.
The House on Friday voted down a resolution similar to one recently passed in the Senate expressing support for the U.S. mission by a vote of 123 to 295.
The Associated Press reported that the vote is the first time since 1999 that Congress has voted against the president’s authority to conduct a military operation.
“The president has not made the case for committing our military to the conflict in Libya,” said Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, a Republican. “The president claims these military actions do not constitute hostilities. However, the American people know otherwise.”
The rejection is an embarrassment for Obama, who has been accused by opponents of the mission of violating the 1973 War Powers Resolution by not getting congressional approval before entering the conflict.
The House also voted down a measure that would have partially defunded the operations. However, some have noted that the resolution would have actually authorized the Libya intervention. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), certainly no supporter of our tendencies to play policeman to the world, spoke out against the resolution:
Over at Foreign Policy, Josh Rogin notes that there is enough support from members of both parties to completely defund President Obama’s illegal war; that is if Republicans were actually serious about it:
The vote failed 180-238 - but, in fact, there were more than enough lawmakers to pass the measure. Of the 149 Democrats who stuck with the president, up to 70 of them are totally opposed to the Libya intervention and want to see it completely defunded as soon as possible. They voted “no” on the Rooney’s bill because they thought it was too weak, did not cut off all funds, and implicitly authorized the intervention.
These 70 Democrats make up the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, whose leadership includes Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
“Members of Congress voted no because the bill provided funding and legal authority for everything we’re currently doing. It was back door authorization. Members didn’t support authorizing what we’re doing now in Libya,” Michael Shank, Honda’s spokesman, told The Cable. “The majority of the CPC voted no on the Rooney vote because of this.”
In other words, if the GOP had put forth a stronger anti-Libya resolution, the progressive Democrats would have joined them and it would have passed. Despite what Clinton or other administration officials may say, the bill’s failure cannot be seen as an endorsement of the Libya war.
Republicans are balking and allowing President Obama to save face instead of rebuking him in proper fashion. They need to stop beating around the bush here and outright pull funding out from under the White House. They have the votes, so why wait?