WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives refuted President Obama’s handling of the war in Libya on Friday, then an hour later, voted against defunding the mission there.
Lawmakers from both parties have criticized Obama for not seeking Congressional approval of the war, citing the War Powers Act, which requires the president receive that endorsement within 60 days of the beginning of combat operations. They voted down a bill that would have authorized the mission, 123 for and 295 against.
Only eight Republicans voted for the measure, but Democrats were split. Minnesotans Tim Walz, Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison supported the resolution; every other Minnesota representative voted against it.
Ellison spoke on the issue early in the day.
“United States military force is very awesome thing. We misused that power in Iraq and too long in Afghanistan, But when people are being slaughtered by dictators around the world, I think it’s appropriate for the U.S. to step up and defend those people,” he said. “Yes, I think we do have business in Libya.”
House Republican leadership had supported a second resolution, one that would have defunded the operation. It also failed 180-238, with both parties split on the issue.
From Minnesota, only Republicans John Kline and Chip Cravaack supported the legislation.
The bill would have been a mostly symbolic measure, as Senate leaders from both parties have introduced a bill to support the mission and would likely have not considered defunding it. Sen. John McCain, a co-author of that measure, released a statement saying, “I look forward now to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, in both the Senate and the House, to pass an authorization for the limited use of force in Libya that fulfills our responsibilities and sends a message to Muammar Qaddafi, the liberation forces in Libya, and our NATO allies that the United States will achieve our stated objective of forcing Qaddafi to leave power.”
After the House returns from recess on July 6, it will likely debate the issue again, in the form of amendments to the Department of Defense funding bill.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.