House votes to deny Obama authority to continue operations in Libya

John Hageman

The House voted down a proposal Friday that gives President Obama authority to continue military actions in Libya, according to the Associated Press. The vote was 295-123.

But a second measure to limit funding for military operations in Libya failed 180-238, according to MSNBC.

The move seems to be nothing but politically-motivated, as the vote has “no immediate impact” on the operations in Libya, the AP report said.

It was the first time since the U.S. intervened in Bosnia under President Clinton that the House or the Senate voted against a military operation. 

“The president has ignored the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, but he cannot ignore a lack of funding,” Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., sponsor of the bill, told the AP. “Only Congress has the power to declare war and the power of the purse, and my bill exercises both of those powers by blocking funds for the war in Libya unless the president receives congressional authorization.”

Meanwhile, three lawmakers, including Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), wrote a letter in support of the three-month war.

“The mission is necessary to avert the slaughter of Libyans … [it] has broad international support … the U.S. role is limited in scope but essential to the success of the humanitarian mission … [and] the resolution asserts and affirms Article I, the constitutional responsibility of Congress and the applicability of the War Powers Act when the U.S. is engaged in hostilities,” wrote Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Ellison, according to Politico.

Opponents of continuing military strikes in Libya have argued that Obama didn’t seek congressional approval, as is required under the War Power Act, and therefore should not be involved in the conflict. But Obama maintained that military strikes do not constitute “hostiles” and don’t require consent from Congress, according to Politico.