Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner criticized President Barack Obama Thursday for not laying out a clear mission for U.S. military operations overseas and, at a time when Congress is struggling to make significant spending cuts, said the president owes the American people some answers.
"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 and the doubts that our members have, frankly, are reflected, they're reflecting what they're hearing from their constituents," Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
Boehner echoed concerns raised by rank-and-file House Republicans at a closed meeting on Wednesday –criticism the president is not spelling out what they think is a coherent explanation of the U.S. role in Libya.
"I said several weeks ago, our members are a bit weary about the amount of money we've spent in Iraq and in Afghanistan and that we're spending in Libya and as a result, really are wondering what's our vital national security interest there?" Boehner asked.
GOP members, openly frustrated with the Obama administration, told leaders they were willing to back a resolution sponsored by Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the NATO-led military operation in Libya, potentially putting the U.S. military in an awkward position by not having congressional support while conducting missions there.
Kucinich told reporters Wednesday he is confident he has a bipartisan majority backing his resolution because members of both parties don't believe the president had the authority to approve the Libya military mission without consulting Congress.
When GOP leaders realized Kucinich's resolution could pass, they pulled the bill from floor consideration and scheduled another meeting for Thursday to talk about Libya. Republican leadership aides said House GOP leaders will discuss Kucinich's resolution and other resolutions offered by House Republicans that would put Congress on record disapproving Obama's actions on Libya. These aides expect the House will vote Friday on at least one measure regarding the African country.