House to Consider Rival Resolutions on Libya

By John R Parkinson

Jun 21, 2011 7:32pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports: 

House Speaker John Boehner announced Tuesday evening that the House of Representatives will take up a resolution later this week with the Kerry/McCain Libya language that authorizes the use of force in Libya, and also a second resolution that would “remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Libya.” 

“It is clear that the Obama Administration’s claim that targeted bombings, missile strikes, and other military actions in Libya do not constitute ‘hostilities’ under the War Powers Resolution is not credible,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “If the Commander-in-Chief believes that intervention in Libya is important for our national security, he has a responsibility to make a case for it – clearly and publicly – and seek authorization. In the three months since military action in Libya began, none of this has occurred. The American people deserve to have their voice heard in this debate, and Congress has a responsibility to hold the White House accountable.” 

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and John McCain, R-Ariz., the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, introduced a resolution on Libya on the Senate floor this morning that would authorize force in Libya for up to one year, but specifies that the mission is limited in scope, with no U.S. ground troops.  A resolution that mirrors the Senate’s language will be introduced in the House. 

The other resolution, the text of which will be posted online later tonight, would “remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Libya under the War Powers Resolution except for forces engaged in non-hostile actions such as search & rescue, aerial re-fueling, operational planning, intelligence/ surveillance/ reconnaissance, and non-combat missions,” according to the Speaker’s office. 

“We have no desire to damage the NATO alliance, which has been a strong force for peace and stability in Europe and around the world,” Boehner stated. “We know that soldiers, sailors, and airmen from our allies have fought by our side for decades, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we honor their service. Still, the White House must not ignore its obligations to the American people and the laws of this country.” 

In a bipartisan vote earlier this month, 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 gave the Obama administration 14 days to give 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.

The administration told Congress last week in a report that the role of the U.S. military is so limited, Congressional authorization is not needed.

“The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision,” the report read.

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