WASHINGTON – Pres. Obama’s authority, however flimsy, to unilaterally involve the United States in bombing Libya expired on May 20th. Today Congress decided to do their job.
The United States is currently providing NATO with intelligence, logistical support and armed Predator drones in what is largely a bombing campaign against Libyan government forces. The administration has contended that it was within Mr. Obama’s power to initiate American participation in the hostilities without Congress because the combat was limited to an air offensive. – House Rebukes Obama Over Libya
Here’s bipartisanship I can applaud: Rep. Jeff Flake and 86 other Republicans voted in favor of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s legislation demanding “withdrawal” from Libya within 15 days.
However, it was Speaker Boehner’s weaker legislation that passed. From HuffPo:
“The greater threat today, in my view, is the perpetual acquiescence of this body in situations such as we face today in Libya, where we tolerate the use of force when the threat to our national security is less obvious,” (Rep. Flake) said on the House floor. Flake, along with 86 other Republicans, voted in favor of the Kucinich resolution.
“Since we went in abruptly and illegally, we need to abruptly leave,” said Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who also supported the Kucinich measure.
Democrats accused Boehner of attempting to play to both sides with his resolution, by allowing his members to vote against the president without actually demanding changes to U.S. policy in Libya.
“Either we should authorize this involvement or terminate it,” Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) said on the floor. “The majority seems to be raising a fuss while winking at the White House.”
It would be better, some Democrats said, to approve the Kucinich resolution, because such a move would re-assert that it is Congress that possesses the power to authorize the nation to go to war. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he would have voted against intervening in Libya had the president come to Congress for approval. “Yes, [Gaddafi] is a thug that ought to be removed,” he said on the floor. “But it cannot be that America is the 911 call for the world and we are the ones who have to respond everywhere, every time.”
Obama thinks he’s king and evidently so do many in Congress. What a scurge the imperial presidency has become to our democratic republic, most of it the fault of Congress who long ago quit doing its job.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.
Paul Szep cartoon used with permission, all rights reserved.