On Libya, Obama has angered both sides in Congress
Congress raised few objections to presidential use of force in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the way President Obama has carried out the Libya mission has rankled both Democrats and Republicans.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost US taxpayers more than $1.3 trillion over 10 years, but it took the 93-day engagement in Libya, which has yet to top $1 billion, to rouse Congress to challenge the White House over the president's powers to wage war.Skip to next paragraph
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The Republican caucus, focused for the past six months on cutting spending, is particularly divided about Libya. Some libertarians, including GOP freshmen, are siding with antiwar Democrats in an attempt to cut off war funding. Others see that move as a betrayal of the GOP’s tradition of support for national security.
But all share a conviction that the president needs to take Congress’s constitutional role in times of war more seriously. “Libya has been handled extremely poorly by the president,” says Rep. Rob Bishop (R) of Utah. “If we cut the funding, it’s because this administration is so inexperienced.”
At a GOP caucus meeting on Wednesday, Republicans urged their leaders to take a measure to the floor that “had teeth,” several lawmakers said.
House Republicans currently have two options before them.
One measure toes the traditional Republican line of supporting the president's authority to use force. It would authorize limited US operations in Libya for a year.
The other option, still in the works, would cut off funding for combat missions in Libya, maintaining money only for “nonhostile actions.” The aim is to “cut off funding for hostilities, but not leave our NATO allies in the lurch,” says Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner.
Floor votes on the two measures might not happen until Friday.