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  • What Should Congress Do About Libya?

    The President’s actions in Libya have put the U.S., the Congress, and NATO in a bind. The Obama Administration’s failure to include Congress in its Libya deliberations prior to launching the operation and its subsequent refusal to address congressional concerns are inexcusable and have justifiably angered Congress.

    As frustrating as Obama’s Libya policies are,  Congress should act with prudence. It should not immediately terminate funding for the operation, which would force the U.S. to abandon its NATO allies in the middle of a war. Given the commitments already made by the President, Congress should support military operations until the end of the 90-day extension NATO authorized for “Operation Unified Protector” in Libya.

    Any funding of operations beyond that date should be prohibited unless supported by specific congressional approval. This is an appropriate constitutional action and a clear alternative to invoking the unconstitutional provisions of the War Powers Resolution. By adopting this course, the U.S. fulfills its obligations to its NATO allies and extricates itself from a failed policy. It also allows a sufficiently reasonable amount of time to transition the NATO effort from an inconclusive military operation that could well fail to a road map that offers the best prospects for the future of the Libyan people.

    The establishment of a viable opposition authority in Libya and international pressure that is not military in nature (such as arms and financial embargoes) are more likely than NATO military operations to lead to the end of Qadhafi’s regime.  The U.S. should support the continued isolation of the Qadhafi regime and efforts to broker an acceptable resolution of the civil war in Libya. International isolation and the Libyan opposition remain the most important—and in the long run, most sustainable—pressure points on Qadhafi.

    There is a better way to handle this than a suit filed today by 10 Members of Congress. The federal courts have dismissed similar suits brought by Members of Congress under War Powers Resolution in the Reagan and Clinton administrations—on standing and other jurisdictional grounds.  The DC district court where the suit is filed today is bound by those prior decisions.

    If a judge ever were able to rule on the merits of the claims filed today, it would also have to dismiss the claims for several reasons, including that the relevant provisions of War Powers Resolution relied upon in the suit is unconstitutional.

    Congress has sufficient power to defund any military action if it exercises its collective, constitutional power to enact such a funding ban, which is another reason the courts will not violate the constitutional separation of powers by aggrandizing to itself the power to act on the petition of 10 Members of Congress. Congress as a whole should consider what legislative action is appropriate, but it should not squander its true legislative authority with empty gestures and resolutions that are unconstitutional.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to What Should Congress Do About Libya?

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "What Should Congress Do About Libya?"

      Defund and get out!

      Then add to that, our illegal war with Yemen.

      With our growing agression we are doing what the USSR did and I fear we will suffer their fate for it.

      History is there for a reason, to learn from.

    2. Donald McGovern, Bur says:

      Congress should stop funding the war in Libya.

    3. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      What should Congress do when the 90-day NATO extension comes and goes with little progress? If Qadhafi is still as "dug in" as ever at the end of this extension, should Congress just keep funding this "kinetic military action" a month at a time? Two months? A year? Whatever NATO asks for? To whom is the President and Congress accountable…us or NATO?

      President Bush went to great lengths to make the case to Congress, the American people and the UN for war against terrorists and their sympathizers "dug in" in Afghanistan and Iraq. There was a much greater national security interest in these theaters than there is in Libya or even in Yemen or wherever else Arab spring/summer protests turn gruesome.

      Since President Obama seems to think the War Powers Act is unconstitutional with his disregard of it with respect to Libya, Congress ought to add its repeal to the next defense bill. That act seems to be a cop-out for Congress not to exert their rightful authority to fund and defund wars and conflicts.

    4. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      It's real simple. Congress will do NOTHING! The Dems will continue protect and

      support Obama. The Repubs don't have the guts.

    5. Tim Az says:

      Yes the Congress can certainly stop funding military action in Libya. Mao-Bama can also order our military to remain in Libya without any financial support and blame the Congress for not backing our military. Mao-Bama has a strategy that requires him to overwhelm our military with multiple conflicts that require enough funding to collapse the American economy. If you think that's a silly notion, then explain why he is conducting a secret war in Yemen? Where will he engage our military next? Mao-Bama is running out of time to collapse the American dollar And massive social spending alone has not yet destroyed the dollar. The regime can't take away power from the American people without first eliminating all private wealth. Only then they believe Americans will fall on their knees and accept the regime as their personal saviuor. Had enough yet?

    6. Charles Riegel, says:

      Impeachment is the only soluttion to rogue presidential action. We need to swallow the embarassment of withdrawing support from an illconsidered but non-the-less illegal action. We cannot permit a president to ignore the Constitution or the provisions of the as yet non -court Constitutionally challenged War Powers Act which sets forth specific conditions when and how military action may be implimented without a Congressional Declaration of War. All War Powers provisions are permitted only "pursuant to (1) a declaration of war,(2) specific statuatory authorization or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or posessions, or its armed forces" none of such circumstances exist.

      The House should begin impeachment procedures immediately to prevent even more eggregious presidential acrtions. .

    7. Carol,AZ says:

      What should Congress do about Libya?

      The despotic decision to over ride Congress and commit in any way to Libya, by America, is in direct violation of the Wars Powers Act.

      For decades the USA foreign policy continues, in true American Imperialistic ignorance is to throw around our money in the billions, and our might, in support of Despotic, tyrannical governments around the world.

      It hasn't worked but no one talks about it.

      The other failed policy utilized over and over:

      We have been conditioned in the belief ,

      "we're all made to feel safer now ."

      That hasn't worked either, but no one talks about these failed policies repeated and repeated.

      For eight long years we have poured billions into Iraq.

      War destroyed the infrastructure and we, the tax payers are rebuilding the infrastructure.

      What has been largely under reported, is the truth that Iraq has no stable provisional gov't.

      American policy want all of us to believe that defending third world nations that have lived for centuries slightly above the cave dweller, all want freedom.

      Is this belief by policy leadership garnered by seeing some portion of the population speaking on a cell phone as a sigh of, an emerging Democracy ?

      The long history of Libya is one of blood and murder.

      Certainly when our news media reports civilians being killed, its a tragedy anywhere in the world.

      Libya has been murdering its own population in unrecorded numbers for centuries.

      Libya, a Despotic led countriy ( for centuries) doen't want Democracy, it must have total control of it's people.

      The keystone that America refuses to understand with most, of our foreign policies around the world is, we will never change their history.

      The USA still believes that we are the savor for the brave new world for nation building.

      But it hasn't worked.

      We must stay OUT of Libya.

      Centuries of Libyan history is the verification for the, "why."

    8. Renny, Maryland says:

      Boy this guy is shrude. House, you/we have only one chance to let him know who we are!!!! "DO NOT INCREASE THE DEBE LIMIT!!!!!" Through his judicial sysetm he might find a way to fire you, but that is OK. "You stood your ground that we the people put you there for." It will blow his mind if the debt limit is not increased!!!!!!

    9. Pete, Houston Texas says:

      We are reminded of what it feels like to get drugged into a war that we did not want to participate in. Guess the French and English reminded Obama that they did not want to go into Afganistan or Iraq and we drug them into that mess. However, personally I was good with taking the fight to Afganistan. Once we found that the Iraqis did not have WMD's we should have walked. We would be in the same place we are today in that they can't figure out how to self govern without a dictator.

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