Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) plans to introduce a measure that would defund the U.S. military involvement in Libya, a move that comes as members of Congress are expressing increasing discontent with President Obama’s decision three months ago to enter into the conflict.
“This Administration brought our nation to war without Congressional approval or the support of the American people,” Kucinich said in a statement Friday. “When Congress demanded an explanation, the Administration tried to argue that bombing operations and support of other countries’ military operations in Libya, which cost almost $9.5 million per day, do not constitute war. In a direct challenge to Congress, the Administration is continuing the war despite its inability to provide a constitutional or legal justification for bypassing Congress.”
The criticism of Obama on the issue comes from members in both parties. Kucinich, a liberal anti-war Democrat, earlier this week filed a federal complaint with nine other House members arguing that Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by intervening in Libya. And top House Republican on Thursday offered his most direct criticism to date of the administration’s handling of the Libyan conflict.
“It just doesn’t pass the straight-face test in my view,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters in reference to a 32-page report issued by the White House defending the U.S. involvement in the NATO-led effort.
The timing of the Kucinich measure remains uncertain; the Ohio Democrat plans to introduce as an amendment to an upcoming defense appropriations bill. Boehner suggested Thursday that the House could act on Libya-related legislation as early as next week.
A resolution introduced by Boehner earlier this month rebuking Obama for proceeding with the U.S. mission in Libya without first receiving congressional approval passed the House with bipartisan support. The resolution called on Obama to answer lawmakers’ questions about the mission but stopped short of calling for the U.S. military operation to be halted.
In the Senate, plans to introduce a resolution authorizing the mission have fallen apart, and leaders have not yet determined whether they will bring a measure to the floor. In March, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling on Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to resign and urging for “the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.”
As of Friday, the U.S. has been involved in the Libyan conflict for 90 days.