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Wednesday
Jun082011

Senators Introduce Resolution on Libya War Powers Act

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senators Jim Webb, D-Va., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., introduced a joint resolution Wednesday requiring a “detailed justification” of the U.S. operation in Libya from the administration.
 
The resolution calls on the president to request authorization for the continuation of the United States' involvement in NATO activities and states that Congress should fully debate such a request expediently.  
 
Parts of the resolution draws on language in the legislation passed in the House of Representatives -- when the president faced a similar Democratic revolt last week.
 
“The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya,” the resolution states.
 
The senators call for an unclassified report to provide essential information to evaluate the nation’s involvement in Libya and appropriately debate it, and asks 21 questions of the president “critical to determining whether the engagement in Libya is critical to the vital national interest to the United States.”
 
Senator Webb, D-Va., said on the Senate floor Wednesday that this precedent has the potential to haunt the nation for decades.
 
The White House has continued to say that they have acted within the 1973 War Powers Act Resolution, which requires the president to obtain congressional authorization within 60 days of the start of military operations. The military intervention started on March 19; Congress was notified on March 21. Those 60 days expired on May 20.
 
“The president followed no clear historical standard when he unilaterally decided to use force in Libya,” Webb said, “once this action continued beyond his original definition of days, not weeks, he did not seek the approval of Congress. And while he has discussed this matter with some members of Congress this administration has not formally conferred with the legislative branch.”
 
Senator Corker said Wednesday that the president is “sidelining” Congress and not even answering the questions of the members of Congress.
 
The next step procedurally is that this will be referred to committee first. Senator Webb’s office says the senator believes the Senate should debate this on the floor as a stand-alone measure “expeditiously,” and he will work with leadership to that end.

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