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Lawmakers reject bill blocking further US military action in Libya

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-25

The Republican-led House of Representatives on Friday chose not to endorse US President Barack Obama’s military intervention in Libya but stopped short of halting the participation of US forces in NATO-led air strikes.

REUTERS - War-fatigued lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives took a symbolic swipe at President Barack Obama’s military intervention in Libya on Friday, but stopped short of trying to bar U.S. forces from continuing to carry out air strikes.

The Republican-led House, upset over Obama’s failure to seek congressional approval of U.S. military action in Libya, voted 123-295, largely along party lines, to reject the resolution endorsing U.S. involvement in the NATO-led mission.

But later the House handed Obama a largely symbolic victory by rejecting an effort to bar the U.S. military from carrying out air strikes against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

The House voted 180-238 to reject the measure backed by House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, a Republican. Eighty-nine Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill.

The congressional action was another warning to Obama about growing discontent among lawmakers after a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that has cost more than a trillion dollars and has helped fuel a $1.4 trillion budget deficit.

Since NATO took over the Libya operation on March 31, the United States has conducted 755 strike sorties, including 119 in which the planes actually fired at targets. Thirty-nine of the strikes involved the use of drone aircraft.

Lawmakers who supported action authorizing U.S. participation in the NATO mission against Gaddafi warned that rejection of the measure and approval of curbs on U.S. military involvement could damage the U.N.-authorized operation.

“We have a responsibility to our allies,” said Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings.

“As long as we are continuing to supply logistics, material and critical intelligence and operational capabilities and no boots are on the ground, we must support our allies who are carrying out the direct combat operations. We must stand with NATO.”

Others were critical of Obama’s handling of the intervention and his failure to consult with Congress, as stated in the War Powers Act of 1973.

“We probably would have had ... pretty broad support here in the Congress for the action that was taken by the president if there had been early authorization,” said Representative David Dreier, a Republican.

“I think Democrats and Republicans alike acknowledge that this has been very, very poorly handled.”

Date created : 2011-06-24


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