Kerry, McCain Introduce Bill Authorizing Limited Involvement In Libya

Originally published on June 21, 2011 6:40 pm

Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) have introduced a bill that authorizes U.S. involvement in Libya for one year. The bill would also prohibit the use of ground troops.

The AP reports:

The measure is a clear counter to efforts in the House to prohibit spending and effectively end the operation, a reflection of the growing Republican and Democratic anger toward Obama and his treatment of Congress. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said lawmakers will consider measures to cut off funds.

"Our members are very frustrated over the president's actions, his lack of positing a clear mission and vision for our involvement in Libya," Cantor told reporters. "Members have not seen the reasons why or why not the president thinks we're involved in hostilities."

As we've reported before, earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to the president pressing him to comply with the War Powers Resolution and 10 lawmakers filed a suit, asking a judge to halt military action in Libya because what the president had undertaken was illegal, they argued.

The White House maintained that it does not need Congressional approval for the actions in Libya because the U.S. is merely playing a support role in the NATO-led effort.

The Washington Post reports that in speeches on the floor, McCain and Kerry have both backed the president's decision to intervene in Libya:

In remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McCain and Kerry spoke out forcefully on their resolution. Kerry criticized the resolution to defund the mission, saying that such a vote would represent a "moment of infamy" for the lower chamber.

"It would reinforce the all-too-common perception on the Arab street that America says one thing and does another," Kerry said.

McCain acknowledged lawmakers' concerns over the Obama administration's handling of the Libyan mission and agreed that the White House had made missteps. Yet he argued that "the president did the right thing by intervening to stop a looming humanitarian disaster in Libya."

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