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Disgruntled House set to vote on Libya resolutions

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders say it’s time to vote on the mission, an action many of them, including those from Minnesota, say is long overdue.

Rebels patrolling between the villages of Bir Aryyad and Yfren on Wednesday.
REUTERS/Anis Mili
Rebels patrolling between the villages of Bir Aryyad and Yfren on Wednesday.
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President Obama
REUTERS
President Obama

“I just believe that because of the president’s failure to consult with the Congress, failure to outline to the American people why we’re doing this before we engaged in this puts us in a position where we have to defend our responsibilities under the Constitution,” House Speaker John Boehner said at a Thursday press conference. “This is primarily a fight between the Congress and the President over his unwillingness to consult with us before making this decision.”  

Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House Democrats, said she believes Obama “has the latitude to do what he is doing as long as there are no boots on the ground,” but, “I also always say that consultation strengths the resolve of the country and the more consultation the better in that regard, whether or not it triggers the War Powers Act.”

But Pelosi’s support hasn’t succeeded in creating a united Democratic front behind Obama. Earlier this month, 61 Democrats voted for a failed resolution to defund the mission, a bill brought by Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat among the litigants in the War Powers Act lawsuit.

Kucinich announced yesterday he would support today’s resolution defunding the effort, as well as propose an amendment to a Department of Defense funding bill barring funds from being spent on the Libyan war.

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We haven’t taken a formal position on this because we’re split on this,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who chairs the caucus with Ellison. He voted to defund the mission earlier this month. “I think it’s an issue in which there is no formal position because there is no consensus on it. Every member does what he or she feels is appropriate for their position or their conscience.”

Grijalva said he doesn’t support either the mission in Libya or the way Obama has bypassed Congress, but he said he wouldn’t vote for a resolution if it was simply a Republican attack on the president’s policies.

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Ellison, meanwhile, told C-SPAN, “I’m not going to vote for some precipitous ‘get out now’ [resolution], but I do believe we need a greater degree of accountability.”