Faced with two pro-war resolutions of varying bellicosity on Libya, the House of Representatives decided to issue a harsh rebuke to the Obama Administration, rejecting both. The “one year” authorization, mirroring a Senate version, failed by a wide margin, and came largely along party lines.
But it was the second resolution, which masqueraded as the “antiwar” alternative, which was expected to pass. This bill was couched in terms of “barring funds” for the war but provided a large number of exceptions, which amounted to a de facto authorization of most of what the US is already doing in Libya.
Yet this too failed, with a vote of 180-238. The vote saw a majority of Republicans supporting it, while a strong majority of Democrats and a solid minority of Republicans ensuring its eventual defeat.
This second bill was rejected by a number of hawks for not authorizing more attacks, and was also rejected by portions of the antiwar movement led by Rep. Ron Paul (R – TX) who argued it permitted too much. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D – OH) supported the second measure, claiming it was a good start and would give way to a full defunding bill after the July 4 recess.
It remains to be seen if the Kucinich defunding bill will enjoy enough support to pass, but if nothing else, the failure of today’s votes ensure the war remains illegal ahead of court challenges to the administration’s decision to continue attacking. It is unclear where this puts the Senate, which so far is only considering the “one year” version which the House rejected so strongly.