White House Responds to Boehner's Warning on Libya

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The White House responded Tuesday to House Speaker John Boehner's warning that President Obama will soon be in violation of the War Powers Resolution – three months after the president informed Congress of the start of the mission in Libya – because the White House has failed to answer "fundamental questions regarding the Libya mission."

"We are in the final stages of preparing extensive information for the House and Senate that will address a whole host of issues about our ongoing efforts in Libya, including those raised in the House resolution as well as our legal analysis with regard to the War Powers Resolution," Tommy Vietor, National Security Council Spokesman, said in a statement.

"Since March 1st, Administration witnesses have testified at over 10 hearings that included a substantial discussion of Libya and participated in over 30 Member or staff briefings, and we will continue to consult with our Congressional colleagues," Vietor added.

Over the past 90 days, the maximum days allowed under the War Powers Resolution without Congressional approval, Boehner complains that the president has not asked for or received approval from Congress for the action in Libya.

Boehner wrote Tuesday that while the administration has provided tactical operational briefings to the House of Representatives, "the White House has systematically avoided requesting a formal authorization for its action."

"It would appear that in five days, the Administration will be in violation of the War Powers Resolution unless it asks for and receives authorization from Congress or withdraws all U.S. troops and resources from the mission," Boehner, R-Ohio, noted.

"[The administration] has simultaneously sought, however, to portray that its actions are consistent with the War Powers Resolution. The combination of these actions has left many Members of Congress, as well as the American people, frustrated by the lack of clarity over the Administration's strategic policies, by a refusal to acknowledge and respect the role of the Congress, and by a refusal to comply with the basic tenets of the War Powers Resolution," he added.

Boehner is also calling on the president to explain the legal grounds on which he plans to continue to carry out the mission in Libya beyond Sunday.

"Given the mission you have ordered to the U.S. Armed Forces with respect to Libya and the text of the War Powers Resolution, the House is left to conclude that you have made one of two determinations: either you have concluded the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the mission in Libya, or you have determined the War Powers Resolution is contrary to the Constitution," Boehner writes. "The House, and the American people whom we represent, deserve to know the determination you have made."

Boehner asks whether the White House views itself in compliance with the War Powers resolution, and whether there are new "facts or circumstances which would have changed the legal analysis the Office of Legal Counsel released on April 1, 2011?"

He asks for the administration to respond by this Friday, June 17.v Two weeks ago on June 3, the House approved a resolution declaring that "the President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya."

The resolution also gave the Obama administration 14 days to provide Congress proof that the legislature was consulted before U.S. forces were committed to enforcement of the no-fly zone and also to explain how the operation is authorized under the War Powers resolution.

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