House Vote On Libya Mission Set For Friday

The House of Representatives will be taking a vote on the Libya mission on Friday but what exactly they’ll be voting on remains unclear:

House GOP leaders have scheduled a vote on Friday on U.S. participation in the NATO-led effort to topple Muammar Qadhafi, but what lawmakers will be voting on is still unclear.

Top House Republicans are drafting an alternative proposal to a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) barring U.S. backing for the NATO campaign, although the language of that Republican proposal was not immediately available.

The House GOP Conference will hold a special meeting this afternoon. Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) has said no decision will be made on what Libya proposals will come to the floor until after that session.

“We’re going to have a conversation with our members today and we’ll see what they have to say,” Boehner told reporters at a Thursday morning press conference. “I expect this issue will be resolved tomorrow.”

“Members are a bit wary about the amount of money that we’ve spent in Iraq in Afghanistan and what we’re spending in Libya and as a result really are wondering what’s our vital national security interest there,” Boehner added. “You know, I think I have a pretty good feel for it, but I really do believe that the president needs to speak out in terms of our mission in Afghanistan, our mission in Iraq, our mission in Libya.”

Kucinich’s resolution “directs the president to remove the United States armed forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption” of the measure. Reps. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) and Dan Burton (R-Ind.) are co-sponsors of the resolution.

Kucinich believes that President Barack Obama violated the 1973 War Powers Act by failing to obtain congressional approval for U.S. involvement in the Libya campaign within 60 days of U.S. forces beginning combat operations.

Boehner, though, says Obama is “technically” in compliance with the war powers requirements.

Notwithstanding Boehner’s comment, though, some Republicans are preparing to confront the White House on this issue, albeit not very strongly:

A Republican congressman, joined by dozens more Republican co-sponsors, has introduced a resolution expressing “disapproval” of U.S. military operations in Libya — another sign of growing discontent with that campaign on Capitol Hill.

The resolution from Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) would allow the House to state simply that it “does not approve” of the Libya operation.

“The president, on May 20, asked Congress for support for his military engagement in Libya. Our resolution is a response: The president has not made the case,” Turner said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.

The bill is less drastic than one from Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), which had gained surprising bipartisan support before the House’s GOP leaders abruptly shelved it Wednesday. The Kucinich bill, if it passed, would have demanded that President Obama remove U.S. forces from Libya within 15 days.

The Turner bill does not make that demand explicitly. Instead, it cites the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which requires that presidents obtain congressional authorization for foreign military campaigns within 60 days of notifying Congress. In this case, that deadline passed last month.

Turner said that the resolution was designed to compel Obama to come to Congress and make the case for the operation — describing what he knows about the Libyan opposition, and what is supposed to happen if strongman Moammar Gaddafi steps down.

“He’s going to have to provide us everything that he’s yet to provide us with,” Turner said.

Or, he could just ignore like he’s ignored the War Powers Act. What are you going to do then?

It’s good to see some Members of Congress waking up on this issue, but I have to wonder if it isn’t a matter of too little, too late.


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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.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    If the GOP wants to try and stop an operation that will have knocked off a dictator, mass murderer and terrorist at a cost of zero American lives, they’ll need to hurry.

  2. More like ending a mission that his no vital national interests at stake

  3. TG Chicago says:

    If the GOP wants to try and stop an operation that will have knocked off a dictator, mass murderer and terrorist at a cost of zero American lives, they’ll need to hurry.

    First of all, it’s not “the GOP” that’s trying to stop it. This issue does not fall neatly on one side of the aisle. The article is pretty clear about this.

    Secondly, while this might end up costing zero American lives, it is certainly costing a lot of American dollars. And we have very little idea if the government that replaces Qadhafi will be more or less aligned with US interests. We might be installing a dictator, mass murderer and terrorist — and one who has far greater support of the Libyan people. That does not strike me as a good result.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    I accept cotrrection on the GOP’s role in this.

    And I agree there are no vital American interests at stake. Of course the same was true of Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia and Iraq. The same would apply to our defense commitments to NATO, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and our implicit commitment to Israel.

    The phrase “Vital American interests” is essentially irrelevant in the modern world where we have the subtler goal of promoting democracy and stability and undercutting the sources of terrorism. Our national survival will likely not be at stake any time in the foreseeable future.

  5. A voice from another precinct says:

    “Members are a bit wary about the amount of money that we’ve spent in Iraq in Afghanistan and what we’re spending in Libya and as a result really are wondering what’s our vital national security interest there”

    “National security” interests as defined by what something will cost–I like the concept! I wish the GOP (or the Democrats for that matter) had come up with this brainstorm a trillion or so dollars ago.

    I agree that the “national security” interest of Libya is ephemeral, at best. But “we’re speding a lot of money on this” seems like a sad explanation for why something may not be in the interest of the country. Pathetic.

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how Rambobama’s teleprompter reacts to the House “meddling” in the administration’s war business.

    Rambo could opt to be conciliatory and then seek to comply with the War Powers Act. But that would be a tacit admission that that statute is binding on him. If I were Rambobama I’d be of the opinion that the War Powers Act itself is Unconstitutional and thus of no effect. So, ergo, I for one would ignore any resolution the House might pass, even if the Senate signed on too. I think Obama will agree with me. Heh.

    Plus given how often Obama likes to drop bombs on people and fire off missiles and such presumably he’ll not want to set any precedents that might hinder further war actions of his, especially given the fact that he might need a “wag the dog” operation next year in light of the sinking economy and his reelection bid.

    Decisions, decisions.

  7. tom p says:

    While this is an issue where I think the Repubs have a point…. Let us all stop, and imagine for a moment….

    John McCain in the White House. And the protestations coming from the House and the Senate….. The silence is remmeniscent (sp?) of 2002… deafening, isn’t it?