The House of Representatives on Friday voted on two measures that sharply rebuke President Obama over the country’s ongoing role in NATO operations in Libya without congressional consent. Both also called for the administration to provide information about the mission’s cost and objectives.
A resolution offered by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) passed with a vote of 268 to 145. It was a rare move for Boehner, who offered the measure to stymie Republican support for a harsher resolution sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich that called for the United States to withdraw troops from the Libyan operation. The White House believes both proposals were unnecessary, and working behind the scenes this week, administration officials called several Democrats to urge them to vote to reject each of them. Kucinich’s resolution failed by a vote of 148 to 265, with 87 Republicans supporting it. Congressional Black Caucus members were about evenly divided on the measure.
Rep. Allen West (R-Florida) voted in favor of the Kucinich resolution. He said that the president must be held accountable for violating the law by not seeking congressional consent before engaging in the Libyan operation.
“We don't need to give the president anymore time,” West said. “Many Americans, myself included, still don't understand how America is benefitting from having forces in Libya in the first place.”
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia) voted in favor of the Boehner measure and against Kucinich’s.
“I thought we would adversely impact our national security if the Kucinich measure passed and was implemented. It would damage our relations with NATO and also send a bad message to our allies who’ve supported us in so many ways over in that part of the world,” Bishop said. “I do strongly uphold the constitutional authority that is vested in the congress with regard to war powers and the War Powers Act, I supported Boehner because I think the American people are very much concerned about the extent of our involvement in Libya and I don’t think it has been adequately explained.”
Bishop said that constituents are constantly asking him about the country’s objectives in Libya and question the use of much-need financial resources that they believe would be better spent on domestic problems.
(Photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)