Resolution authorizing ‘limited’ U.S. role in Libya introduced in the Senate

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced a bipartisan resolution Tuesday authorizing the continued use of “limited” U.S. military force in Libya, further indication of the growing divide in the GOP overPresident Obama’s stance on the War Powers Act and the national security agenda.

McCain acknowledged the resolution was not “perfect” but said it reflected a necessary compromise — a position at odds with the Republican-led House, which has rebuked the Obama administration’s Libya policy and now is considering a possible halt of funds unless the White House seeks congressional approval for the military operation.

“It is time to send a message to our allies,” McCain said, “to [Moammar Kadafi] and to his opponents in Libya who are fighting for their freedom that there is strong bipartisan support in the Senate and among the American people for staying the course in Libya until we succeed.”

Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, warned his colleagues not to regret that they had failed to support the U.S. role in the NATO-led effort in Libya.


“This is a resolution and a debate about what America stands for,” Kerry said. “Are we willing to stand up for our values and protect our interests? Are we willing to support the legitimate aspirations of the people of Libya?”

Congressional uneasiness with the cost and scope of the military operation has exposed a widening divide among Republicans as conservatives join the liberal left to criticize the president’s handling of the Libya campaign.

But Tuesday’s resolution also highlights the difference between the two chambers as the Democratic-led Senate has been less inclined to criticize the mission.