Following yesterday’s votes, the House once again rejected an Amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D – OH) which would have defunded the war in Libya. The vote failed 169-251 and saw solid Republican support, but coupled with overwhelming opposition from Democrats.
The new vote would have conditioned any funding of the war on the President obtaining a formal declaration of war from Congress. Yesterday’s vote was a more straightforward defunding effort, co-sponsored by Rep. Amash (R – MI), and failed 199-229.
Though both of these votes failed, they showed a solid faction opposed to the Libya conflict remains in the House of Representatives, and makes it difficult to predict if the president would be able to get a pro-war resolution through. A less ambitious amendment by Rep. Cole (R – OK) passed yesterday with overwhelming Republican support, and blocked weapons or training funding for the conflict. The vote was 225-201.
President Obama has argued he doesn’t need congressional approval for the war because, in his estimation, it doesn’t count as hostilities. He has also insisted that questioning the legality of the conflict under the War Powers Act amounts to “defending” Moammar Gadhafi. This claim about “hostilities” and legality was the opposite of the opinion he got from both Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers. The war began on March 19 and was officially in violation of the War Powers Act starting on May 20.