As of Wednesday evening, most lawmakers had yet to formally respond to the Obama administration’s 32-page report to Congress defending the president’s decision to commit U.S. troops to the conflict in Libya. Below are responses from the handful of lawmakers who have responded to the report; we’ll update this post as more responses come in.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio):
“The creative arguments made by the White House raise a number of questions that must be further explored,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement Wednesday. “Regardless, the Commander-in-Chief has a responsibility to articulate how U.S. military action is vital to our national security and consistent with American policy goals. With Libya, the President has fallen short on this obligation. We will review the information that was provided today, but hope and expect that this will serve as the beginning, not the end, of the President’s explanation for continued American operations in Libya.”
Rep. Dennis Kucininch (D-Ohio), who earlier Wednesday led a bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers in filing a federal complaint against Obama on Libya:
“The claim that U.S. involvement in Libya does not constitute placing our armed forces in imminent hostilities has been used time and again throughout our history. It was used in El Salvador, Honduras and in Lebanon, where members of our Armed Forces lost their lives. We cannot fall in the same trap. According to an analysis by the Guardian UK, more than one month after NATO took over operations, the U.S. had thus far provided 93% of the cruise missiles, 66% of the personnel, 50% of the ships and 50% of the planes for the international operations in Libya at a cost to the American taxpayers now rapidly approaching a billion dollars. The White House claim that the war is not war is not a legal argument. It is a political argument. The legal argument will hopefully be addressed by the courts. Today, I, along with 9 of my colleagues, filed suit in federal court challenging the rationale that has brought our nation to an Orwellian war that is not war.”
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), chairman of the House Constitution Caucus:
“At long last, President Obama has decided to update Congress and the American people on his unauthorized use of military force in Libya. Unfortunately, a progress report from the White House is no substitute for congressional authorization. If the president thinks it’s in the best interest of the United States to commit U.S. military personnel to the conflict in Libya he needs to come to Congress for an up or down vote. Otherwise, he is in violation of Constitution and the oath he took to preserve, protect and defend it.”