Members of Congress on both sides have largely remained quiet about the president's actions in Libya, a stance that could work in their benefit politically. Without Congress having to take a vote on the use of armed forces, blame for possible failures in Libya could be deflected to the presidency. Lindsay guesses that Congress won't act until the general public voices discontent over what the president is doing. "Congress is most likely to challenge the president on the War Powers Resolution if the U.S. commitment in Libya expands, or the civil war doesn't come to a conclusion," he says. "Congress is most adamant when the public is most upset, and we're not there at this point."
According to James Carafano, director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank based in Washington, the lukewarm response from Congress also could help Obama as he defines the country's role in Libya. "The president kind of gets a get-out-of-jail-free card. You've got Democrats and Republicans, even within their own sides, on all sides of this issue. There's really no critical mass of people that are going to come out and criticize the president," he says. "I don't sense any appetite from anybody seriously in Congress from really holding the president to the 60-day deadline."
While leadership in both parties hasn't taken a strong position either way, Indiana Republican Sen. Dick Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has come out strongly against the president for not consulting enough with Congress on a Libya strategy. In a press release Friday, he said that "if the administration seeks to continue our military involvement in Libya, it is incumbent that they seek and secure Congressional authorization." According to Lugar's spokesman, Mark Helmke, the senator is waiting to see how the president plans to move forward before introducing any legislative or legal action to uphold the resolution.
It's still unknown how the president plans to proceed, but he may address his strategy in a speech on the Middle East scheduled for Thursday at the State Department.