Senators John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), John S. McCain (R-Ariz.) and five other senators have formally introduced a resolution that would support “the limited use of military force” by President Obama in Libya.
Also Monday, another prominent senator, Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations committee, wrote a letter to Obama, criticizing him for not seeking Congressional permission. “I urge you to take the necessary steps to ensure that your Administration fulfills its commitment, and its Constitutional duties, to respect the role of Congress,” Lugar wrote.
And Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced that he was introducing another resolution, this one demanding that Obama stop operations in Libya altogether.
All these moves seem to be the beginning of a debate that neither the White House nor congressional leaders appear to want: does Obama need explicit permission from Capitol Hill to continue airstrikes in Libya? And, if he does, is a divided Congress prepared to give it?
The resolution from Kerry and McCain comes three days after Obama missed a legal deadline, set by the 1973 War Powers Resolution, to obtain congressional authorization for the operation in Libya. Obama had formally notified Congress on March 21 that U.S. forces were joining an international coalition to attack government targets in Libya, and the law required he obtain permission within 60 days.
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