House to vent anger over Libya
June 2nd, 2011
07:52 PM ET
12 years ago

House to vent anger over Libya

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As House Republicans grow increasingly restive over the continuing conflict in Libya, party leaders announced they will hold a vote Friday to demand more information from the president.

The Republican measure reflects widespread frustration in the party over what members call lack of details from the White House on the military effort and a lack of deference to Congress before taking military action.

“The American people and members on both sides of the aisle are concerned about questions that have gone unanswered regarding our mission in Libya,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement. “The President has failed to explain to the nation how this military action is consistent with U.S. national security goals and policy.”

Boehner introduced the resolution, which runs seven pages long and includes a laundry list of demands. The measure would prevent the U.S. from putting any ground troops in the country and criticizes the president for not consulting with Congress before launching air strikes.

The resolution also gives the White House a 14-day deadline to furnish information on a wide range of topics, including documents and justifications on the U.S. interests in the conflict, estimated costs and duration of U.S. involvement, and the effect on U.S. activities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The measure is non-binding.

The House will vote Friday on Boehner’s resolution and another sponsored by Ohio Democratic Rep Dennis Kucinich, which calls for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the NATO-led military operation in Libya.

Rank and file House Republicans, openly upset with the Obama administration, told GOP leaders at a closed door meeting Wednesday that they were willing to back Kucinich’s resolution, giving it enough support to pass and potentially putting the U.S. military in an awkward position by not having congressional support while conducting missions there.

When GOP leaders realized Kucinich's resolution could pass, they pulled the bill from floor consideration and scheduled Thursday’s meeting to discuss the issue.

Boehner outlined his resolution at a meeting Thursday afternoon.

By crafting a separate measure, which Republican aides expect will pass Friday, Republican leaders are giving angry members an alternative to go on record strongly opposing President Obama’s handling of Libya and making the point that congress has not authorized military action in that country.

According to a Republican leadership aide in the meeting, the speaker made the point that passing the Kucinich resolution could have serious consequences for men and women in harm's way and for some allies who are fighting with the U.S. in Afghanistan. This aide described the Speaker's pitch on the resolution, saying, "there's a smart way to register anger" on the issue.

Asked what happens if the Obama administration fails to give Congress the info it wants within the 14 days required in Boehner's resolution, this aide pointed out that the Defense spending bill is scheduled to be on the floor at same time that two- week timeframe expires. If Republicans are still unhappy that they aren't getting the details they want, they could cut funding for the mission in that bill.

House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-California, told reporters he thought the president’s actions “probably fit the letter of the law” but unnecessarily ruffled the feathers of many on the Hill.

“If he had come to us prior and talked and said this is what we’re thinking of doing, we might have had some input,” McKeon said. “Why did he need to make an enemy of the Congress? It’s just a clumsy way of handling an important decision.”

While the resolutions are likely to draw some Democratic support, the top House Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said she opposes them.

"The resolutions by Speaker Boehner and Congressman Kucinich, as currently drafted, do not advance our efforts in the region and send the wrong message to our NATO partners."

Filed under: Dennis Kucinich • John Boehner • Libya • President Obama
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. jeremy

    Do the Republicans really not know why he hasn't given them the information they need? It's because they would just find something to complain about that the President is doing wrong anyways. So forget them Obama, just get the mission done. Republicans on the hill know that if they don't tear down the prez that they will have 12 more years of a Dem in the white house. So they just tear us all down to try and get their way. SICK!!

    June 2, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    since when have war hawk Republicans cared so much about America being at war with anybody? Esp since in this situation NO Ameican lives have been lost, there are NO boots on the ground, and it's not really tht US at war. Just more politcal grandstanding by the House Republicans.

    June 2, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |