[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] voted Thursday for a measure to restrict funding for US military operations in Libya but voted down a measure to entirely defund it. In another contradictory message from the House on approval for operations in Libya, it narrowly defeated a bipartisan measure [materials] 199-229 [roll call vote] sponsored by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Justin Amash (R-MI) to defund all operations in Libya but passed a separate measure [materials] 225-201 [roll call vote] sponsored by Tom Cole (R-OK) [official websites] to deny funding for equipment and training related to the operations in Libya. Last month, the House overwhelmingly defeated a measure [JURIST report] to authorize the operations in Libya while also defeating a measure to defund it. US forces have been in Libya beyond the time limit imposed by the 1973 War Powers Resolution [50 USC § 1541 et seq.], which requires congressional authorization for further use of force. However, even if the measure to defund was passed, it had little chance of passing the Senate [official website] which has a Democratic majority. The Senate was set to pass a resolution authorizing operations in Libya, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) [official website] postponed it [WP report] for procedural reasons.
The recent House votes show limited support for US military operations in Libya after the expiration of presidential authority under the War Powers Act. However, President Barack Obama [official website] has released a report arguing he is not violating the War Powers Act [JURIST report] since the US is merely providing support as is required by several international treaties and does not have enough participation in the conflict to declare war. However, it was reported that Obama came to this conclusion on the advice of White House counsel, overriding the official interpretations [JURIST report] of both the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel [official websites]. Last month, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) [official website] had threatened to defund the mission after sending Obama a letter earlier in the month warning him that he was within five days of violating the War Powers Act. Also last month, Kucinich and Walter Jones (R-NC) [official websites] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] seeking to enjoin further action in Libya. Obama’s report endorsed a pending resolution [bill materials] that would provide some congressional support for continued efforts in Libya, though not approval of declaring war. The report also detailed that the US has spent USD $716 million and will spend $1.1 billion by the end of September.
For more see JURIST’s Feature on the Libya Conflict.