President Barack Obama’s notion that he need not consult with Congress over ongoing U.S. military operations in Libya—because, in his words, they were “temporary”—is getting some push back from the House Republicans, who Thursday unveiled a resolution that tries to set things straight.
The four-part resolution, House Speaker John Boehner said in a release, “establishes that the president has not asked for congressional authorization, and that the Congress has not granted it."
“The American people and members on both sides of the aisle are concerned about questions that have gone unanswered regarding our mission in Libya. The President has failed to explain to the nation how this military action is consistent with U.S. national security goals and policy,” Boehner said, going on to criticize the Obama administration for committing “American resources to enforcing a U.N. resolution that is inconsistent with our stated policy goals and national interests when it comes to removing Muammar Kaddafi from power.” [Vote now: Was Obama right on Libya’s no-fly zone?]
It’s a confrontation that is some time in coming. Since winning election in 2008, Obama has tried to govern the nation from the White House and through the executive branch and so-called independent agencies because his agenda has stalled in Congress. He has managed to win a few important victories—like the passage of his so-called economic stimulus program and the landmark overhaul of the nation’s healthcare financing system, but, overall, he seems to regard the Congress as an impediment to his agenda rather than a constitutional check on his powers.
The resolution, which will be voted on on Friday, also reasserts Congress’s constitutional role on funding, requires the president to provide within 14 days information on the mission that should have been provided from the start, and reaffirms the vote the House took last week saying U.S. troops should not be committed to ground operations in Libya. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Middle East uprisings.]
There is little doubt the measure will pass the House by an overwhelming margin. The real question is how many Democrats will join with the GOP in handing a rebuke to Obama, and what the consequences will be for those who do.