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Obama asks Congress for resolution on Libya

May 20, 2011|By Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons
(Saeed Khan, AFP/Getty Images )

Reporting from Washington — Facing criticism from Congress that authority for U.S. military action in Libya is about to expire under the War Powers Act, President Obama asked congressional leaders late Friday for a resolution of support for continuing the military involvement.

"It has always been my view that it is better to take military action, even in limited actions such as this, with congressional engagement, consultation and support," Obama wrote in a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate. "Congressional action in support of the mission would underline the U.S. commitment to this remarkable international effort."

The War Powers Act requires the White House to seek approval of Congress within 60 days of notification of military activity, a law put in place during the political fallout of the Vietnam War. Friday marked the 60th day since the administration announced the U.S. role in Libya.

Several members of Congress have questioned the legitimacy of the military involvement without congressional action.

Conservative senators led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote a letter to Obama earlier this week pressing for his compliance with the act.

From the political left, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has said he would seek to put a resolution before the House next week "to force a vote on our adventure in Libya and to attempt to bring Congress to a realization of the serious erosion of constitutional authority."

In the president's letter on Friday, Obama expressed appreciation for a bipartisan resolution of support for the Libya effort being drafted by several senators.

A spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the matter was under review.

"We received the president's letter but have yet to see the draft resolution it mentions," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. "No decisions will be made until such a review takes place and we discuss the matter with our members."


lmascaro@tribune.com

cparsons@tribune.com

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