Antiwar Battleground in the House
GOP Pulls Libya War Powers Resolution from the Floor Because it Might Pass
By Donny Shaw
Beaver County Peace Links via OpenCongress.org
June 1, 2011
The House Republican leadership is worried that Congress
might stand up to the Obama Administration and assert its
constitutional prerogative as the only branch of government
that can declare war. The House was scheduled to vote this
afternoon on a a privileged resolution from Rep. Dennis
Kucinich [D, OH-10] directing the President, pursuant to the
War Powers Act, to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya. But
the House leadership has pulled it from the floor because,
according to Republican aides who spoke with Fox News, "it
became clear that it might succeed."
"[Republican leaders] hadn't seen much of a threat from
[the Kucinich bill]. He's kind of this marginal figure
and having his resolution go down narrowly would be no
big deal and might even send a message to the
administration," said one of the Republican aides. "But
once they saw that there was substantial support, they
were like, `Whoa.'"
Under the War Powers Act of 1973, if a President authorizes
military action without approval from Congress, they must
terminate the action within 60 days unless they get specific
approval from Congress, or unless there is a national
emergency due to an attack on the U.S. In the case of Libya,
the 60-day period has come and gone without any action from
Congress, yet, in a direct violation of the law, U.S.
military involvement in Libya continues. In fact, it has now
been extended for another 90 days.
The Obama Administration argues that Libya is not a U.S.
mission. It's a NATO mission, they say. But as Kucinich
points out in a letter to supporters of his resolution, the
U.S. is still in charge. "The fact remains that we're
bombing another country and we pay, by far, the largest
percentage of NATO's military bills," he says. "This is a
war that we're leading - and it's a war that violates our
Constitution and the War Powers Act."
According to a new poll, the public seems to back Kucinich
and his allies. When asked by CNN pollsters who should have
final authority for deciding whether the U.S. should
continue its use of military force in Libya - Congress or
President Obama - 55% of respondents answered Congress.
House Republicans have been actively working to expand
presidential war powers. They recently added language to the
annual Defense authorization bill that expands presidential
authority to use military force without consent from
Congress against virtually anybody suspected of being a
terrorist, anywhere in the world (including domestically),
indefinitely. Obviously, the growing support for Kucinich's
resolution is a significant challenge to their unilateral-
executive-war-power agenda. So, it's been postponed,
supposedly "in an effort to compel more information and
consultation' from the Administration," but actually just to
give the Republican leadership more time to twist arms.
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