House approves resolution demanding Obama response on Libya

Washington Bureau

The House on Friday voted to require President Obama to swiftly report to Congress on the rationale for continued U.S. military engagement in Libya, launching a potential showdown over federal funding for the NATO-led operation.

The House voted 268-145 for the resolution that also said the administration has failed to make the case for military action in support of rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, as required by the authority of the War Powers Act.

By bringing the resolution forward, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was able to halt momentum for an increasingly popular liberal-led proposal from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Libya. It was rejected, 148-265.

The votes come amid growing antiwar sentiment in Congress, the reflection of an unusual alliance of the antiwar left and newly energized conservatives that has surfaced on other national security issues.


With the annual defense spending bill expected to come before the House in a matter of weeks as deficit-slashing dominates the debate in Washington, the administration is likely to face new resistance to fund its military campaigns.

“Today’s debate on Libya is the first step,” Boehner said Friday. “We’ll take further action in the weeks to come.”

A White House spokesman called the resolutions “unnecessary and unhelpful.”

“The administration believes strongly in the concept of consulting with leaders in Congress,” Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Toledo, Ohio, where the president was speaking Friday.

“It is the view of this administration that we’ve acted in accordance with the War Powers Act because of this regular consultation,” Earnest said. “We’ve been engaged in that consultation all along.”