Two bipartisan actions in the House of Representatives related to Libya may bode ill for congressional support for the U.S. role in military intervention there.
As you may recall, President Obama last Friday signaled to Congress that he would welcome legislation authorizing or at least supporting military intervention in Libya.
During consideration of the Defense Authorization bill, two amendments passed related to Libya — but they were hardly what President Obama had in mind.
One from Rep. Scott Garrett, R-NJ, asserted that “Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to authorize military operations in Libya.”
Yesterday it passed by voice vote – meaning no one challenged it.
Today an amendment that would “prevent funds from being used to deploy, establish, or maintain a presence of Members of the Armed Services or private security contractors on the ground in Libya” — offered by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. — passed 416-5.
In a statement, Conyers said the “House of Representatives has clearly stated that the current stalemate in Libya will not escalate into an unaffordable occupation that would harm our country’s national security… I encourage my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to heed today’s vote and join our efforts to ensure that the conflict in Libya does not become another Afghanistan or Iraq. The American people have grown weary of open-ended military adventures that place our troops in harm's way and add billions to our national debt.”
Republicans in the House suggest that the two votes are an interesting indicator of the level of support in the House for ongoing operations over there.
Likely to hit the floor next week is a privileged resolution from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, calling for full withdrawal from the action in accordance with the War Powers Act.
Could that pass? I asked a House GOP leadership aide.
“Honestly we don’t know,” the aide said.
The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act FY 2012 by a bipartisan vote of 322-96.
– Jake Tapper