House Blocks Funds For Libya Rebels, Refuses To Defund War

The House of Representatives voted to block funds going to Libyan rebels, but declined to take the full step of defunding U.S. military action there entirely

The House on Thursday voted to limit how the U.S. can spend money on military efforts in Libya, but rejected a measure to defund the operation entirely.

The approved measure blocks the United States from funding rebel groups in Libya. It was offered by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) as an amendment to the 2012 Pentagon spending bill and passed, 225-201.

Cole said his measure was needed to send a message that the kind of military action going on in Libya needs congressional backing.

“It’s extraordinarily important that we stop the erosion of the war-making authority and responsibility of the Congress of the United States, that we end this ill-advised adventure in Libya, and that we reassert the rightful place of this institution in conducting war, authorizing it and funding it,” Cole said.

The failed amendment, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.), was rejected 199-229. It would have prevented the Defense Department from using any money in the 2012 spending bill in Libya.

The votes are the latest in a round of action in the House on the North African conflict. Many lawmakers have accused the White House of skirting its responsibilities under the War Powers Act by not seeking Congressional approval. The House sent mixed signals, though, two weeks ago by calling out the White House, but then failing to pull funding.

The vote is purely symbolic, of course, since it will never make it through the Senate. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that for all the bluster in Congress about Libya they still aren’t willing to go on record doing what they would need to do to actually stand up to the President for engaging in a clearly illegal war.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.