House Passes Essentially Pointless Libya Resolution

The House of Representatives today approved a resolution on the U.S. mission in Libya that is much, much less than meets the eye:

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted Friday to harshly rebuke President Obama for continuing to maintain an American role in NATO operations in Libya without the express consent of Congress, and directed the administration to provide detailed information about the cost and objectives of the American role in the conflict.

The resolution, which passed 268 to 145, was offered by Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio to siphon off swelling Republican support for a measure sponsored by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, which calls for a withdrawal of the United States military from the air and naval operations in and around Libya.

The resolution criticizing the president passed with the support of 45 Democrats and all but 10 Republicans.

The measure from Mr. Kucinich, one of the most liberal members of the House, later failed by 148 to 265, with 87 Republicans voting in favor.

As a legislative matter, the resolution has no practical effect and is little more than an expression of opinion. A decision by the Supreme Court over two decades ago suggested that Congress was not empowered to enforce a resolution or other directive that, unlike a bill, the president has no chance to veto.

But as a political matter, the resolution was an unusually blunt confrontation of a president during a continuing military conflict, and it underscored a bipartisan distaste among members of Congress for being bypassed when American forces are sent into a conflict.

That will only be true of the House is willing to take the next step when, inevitably, the Administration fails to fully respond to the demand for information contained in the resolution. More likely than that, that’s exactly what’s going to happen, and what’s Congress going to do then? My guess is that they won’t do much of anything.

There really ought to have been only two resolutions on the House floor today. One to approve the mission, one to demand immediate withdraw. Instead, the House GOP chose to waste everyone’s time.


FILED UNDER: Africa, Congress, US Politics, World Politics, , , ,
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.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    There really ought to have been only two resolutions on the House floor today. One to approve the mission, one to demand immediate withdraw.

    And take actual responsibility? Not our Congress, my friend.

  2. Southern Hoosier says:

    At least they didn’t pass a bill that would cost us more money or tangle us in more red tape. I think we are better off when Congress does useless things.

  3. Gulliver says:

    Pointless because it’s Obama. If it were a Republican doing this y’all would be discussing the “war crimes” and “outlaw” behavior being engaged in by the Administration. With Obama it is always “Rules for thee but not for me.” You know it, I know it, and the double-standard is becoming more and more obvious to the American people despite the fact that these things – smoehow – barely deserve a blip on the press’s radar.

  4. The Fury says:

    That’s hypocritical b.s. Gullvier.