Entries in War Powers Act (3)


Libya Operation Has Cost More than $716 Million, White House Says

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In a report revealing that the total cost of U.S. intervention in Libya as of June 3 has been $716 million and will reach $1.1 billion by the end of September, the Obama administration Wednesday told congressional leaders that the role of the U.S. military is so limited that congressional authorization is not needed.

“The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision,” wrote two officials with the Pentagon’s legislative affairs office. “U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo.”

The argument is similar to one the president made in a letter to congressional leaders last month.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that “the creative arguments made by the White House raise a number of questions that must be further explored. 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.”

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of ten lawmakers filed a lawsuit against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

“We believe that the law was violated,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. “We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Speaker Boehner Throws Down the War Powers Act Gauntlet on Libya

Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is throwing what one Republican calls “a legal and political hot potato at the President.”

In a resolution to be voted on in the House Friday, Boehner is giving the president two weeks -- until the Pentagon Appropriations bill comes up -- to either:

a)  Ask for authorization for the military intervention in Libya, or

b)  Figure out how to disengage the U.S. from the NATO operation in Libya.

The resolution states: “The President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya.  Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.”

Boehner is explicitly and formally stating that the president did not check the box on the War Powers Act before sending the U.S. military to intervene in Libya.

The White House had no immediate comment, though earlier Thursday White House press secretary Jay Carney said “we believe that the policy is working, we believe that the goal the president has is shared by a vast majority of members of Congress, and we have consulted with Congress every step of the way since we have initiated this policy.” Carney went on to reiterate that “our involvement militarily is limited, as the president promised, and will continue to be so, and he has made very clear, for example, that we will not be sending ground troops to Libya; that is off the table.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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