The House on Thursday approved a Pentagon authorization bill that includes three amendments aimed at the ongoing military operation in Libya--another signal of unhappiness with the White House’s failure to secure authorization for that operation from Capitol Hill.
It has been 66 days since President Obama notified Congress that U.S. forces were joining a multinational campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. Under the 1973 War Powers Resolution, Obama was required to obtain congressional approval within 60 days. So far, he has not.
One amendment to the Pentagon bill, authored by Rep. E. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), says that “nothing in this Act ...shall be construed to authorize military operations in Libya.” It was approved by voice vote on Wednesday.
Another amendment, authored by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), requires that no U.S. ground troops be introduced into Libya, unless it is to rescue another member of the armed forces. The White House has said it has no intention of doing otherwise--but the amendment still passed, 416 to 5.
A third amendment, from Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), would require government agencies to produce a report on the “true cost of war” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. That report, the amendments says, should involve an accounting of both financial costs, and the costs in terms of soldiers killed or injured.
Several other legislators have also introduced bills that would affect the war in Libya. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) has proposed legislation that would require the president to withdraw forces from the Libyan operation.
And Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced a pair of bills on the subject. One would declare war on Libya. The other would declare that Obama has overstepped the bounds of his authority under the War Powers Resolution.
In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Paul said the attitude from the White House had been that “It’s just a little war.”
“But you know what? It’s a big principle,” Paul said. He added: “There darn well should be a debate in this body.”