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Compared with the House, opposition to the president in the Senate has been rather muted. Foreign Relations ranking member Dick Lugar has been among the loudest voices. The Indiana Republican, who is typically aligned with Kerry on major foreign policy matters and was among Obama's staunchest allies last year on a major nuclear weapons pact with Russia, has questioned the U.S. mission in Libya and argued that the Kerry-McCain resolution would not satisfy the War Powers Act.
"Views are all over the lot, in both parties," Kyl said Monday. "I don't know what our action is going to be in response to the House."
The War Powers Act requires that the president seek and obtain approval for military action from Congress within 60 days. That deadline has passed, although at least some Senators supportive of U.S. involvement in Libya, including Kerry, have said formal Congressional approval is not required in this case. The president did send a letter on the 60th day of the Libya campaign expressing support for the Kerry-McCain resolution, which is nonbinding. Lugar, who could pursue legislative action in support of his position, laid out his position again Monday in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post. Lugar is up for re-election in 2012 and is facing a tough primary challenge.
Another Republican opposed to U.S. involvement in Libya, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), said in a statement Monday that the Senate should follow the House in demanding answers about the mission. On Friday, Boehner's resolution passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 268-154, including 223 Republicans who voted in favor. Kucinich's stronger call for withdrawal fell 148-265 but garnered 87 GOP votes in the process.
"As days turn into weeks and months, Americans are left wondering why their president refuses to answer the collective calls concerning the use of U.S. armed forces in Libya," Paul said. "If the president chooses to ignore his responsibility to the American people, it is our duty to enforce accountability."