The House of Representatives has defeated a resolution mirroring the McCain/Kerry Bill in the Senate, which would authorize the war in Libya for a period of a year with a non-binding expression of opposition to the use of ground troops. The vote was 123-295.
The vote followed vigorous debate, with adherents claiming, among other things, that anything short of approval amounted to abbrogating the NATO treaty and that the war was vital revenge for the 1986 Berlin disco bombing.
It was overwhelmingly opposed by Republicans but saw solid support from Democrats following outspoken support by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D – MD). A second vote, nominally barring the use of funds in the war but providing a number of exceptions that amount to a de facto authorization of the war as currently being fought, is expected this afternoon. It is widely expected to pass.
President Obama attacked Libya on March 19, following a UN resolution authorizing a no-fly zone. Since then, the president has claimed he doesn’t need Congressional authorization to continue the war because it isn’t technically “hostilities.” Top legal counsels in the Pentagon and Justice Department have warned the president that bombing Libya is, in fact, hostilities.
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