White House Pushes Back On Congressional Criticism Over Lack of Consultation on Libya

By Kristina

Mar 24, 2011 3:26pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: 

The White House today strongly disputed that President Obama had not properly consulted with Congress while deciding to use military force in Libya.

“He has done that,” White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted today, “He has instructed senior staff here to do that.  And we have in a very substantial way consulted with Congress and will continue to do that.”

Minutes after landing back in the United States after his five-day trip to South America during which a no-fly zone was announced in Libya, the president was met with a letter from Speaker of the House John Boehner in which he said wrote that he “and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s role is in achieving that mission.”

Calling the administration’s case made to the American people “limited” and “sometimes contradictory,” Boehner said “fundamental questions about our engagement” are unanswered though the administration has “consulted extensively on these same matters with foreign entities such as the United Nations and the Arab League.”

Several other Republicans who previously endorsed a no-fly zone, now that there is a no-fly zone, are worried that the President didn’t seek Congressional approval or that he is not doing a good enough job explaining it.

Today the White House said those questions, and others coming from Capitol Hill are “legitimate,” but feel they have adequately addressed.  Carney said that questions raised by members of Congress have, “by and large been answered.”

Carney said that there are a “variety of ways in briefings and in hearings” that the administration can engage in consultations with Congress, and listed nine specific days when members of the administration spoke publically in hearings and behind-closed-doors in briefings with members of Congress on Libya.

While the White House insisted that they believe consultation is part of the process, Carney also added today of the president, “he also believes that he is the commander in chief, and leadership requires him to take action when action will save lives and delaying action will cost lives.”

-Sunlen Miller


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