House Rebukes Campaign In Libya, But Does Not Cut Funds
The measure to express support for the mission in Libya, which was backed by the White House, was defeated in a 295-123 decision. Republicans largely opposed the measure while 70 Democrats voted against it.
Jay Carney, White House press secretary, was “disappointed” with the vote, saying the “writing is on the wall” for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “Now is not the time to let up,” said Carney.
Despite the lack of support for U.S. presence in Libya reflected by the vote, the House rejected a Republican-authored bill in a 238-190 vote that would restrict funding for the mission in Libya. The majority of Democrats voted no while Republicans votes yes by a smaller margin.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was “pleased that a very important statement was made today by the house, on a bipartisan basis, that recognizes the need for us to continue this important mission.”
Lawmakers increasingly voiced their opposition to the effort today before and after the votes.
“Congress today voted overwhelmingly against authorizing the war. The Rooney resolution was defeated because many Members felt that it did not go far enough in that it wasn’t a total cutoff of funding. But that condition is soon to be resolved,” said Ohio Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has called the effort in Libya a distraction that Americans don’t want.
Republicans, who overwhelmingly oppose the Libyan mission, made arguments similar to those during the height of the war in Iraq.
“We have no business in Libya,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas). “We're there because we don't like Muammar Gaddafi. Well, there are a lot of bad guys in the world, and if we start picking them off one at a time, we will be at war with most of the world.”
Other lawmakers cautioned against opposing U.S. presence in Libya.
“A slaughter almost occurred and we were able to stop it by our presence there,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
California Democrat Rep. Howard Berman issued similar caution, saying that cutting funds “ensures the failure of the whole mission.”
Those who disapprove of the U.S. campaign in Libya say President Obama did not seek congressional authorization within a two-month timeframe or withdraw U.S. forces within three months. The 1973 War Powers Resolution gives the president 60 days to gain congressional approval before sending U.S. troops to war and a 30-day extension to withdraw troops. Last Sunday was the end of the 90-day period.