Updated: 7:07 p.m.
Speaker John Boehner warned the White House on Tuesday that it is about to run afoul of the War Powers Act and set a Friday deadline for the administration to provide him with a legal justification for continued military action in Libya.
In a terse letter sent to President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon, the Ohio Republican wrote, “In five days, the Administration will be in violation of the War Powers Resolution unless it asks for and receives authorization from Congress or withdraws all U.S. troops and resources from the mission.”
The letter represents the harshest criticism of the administration’s Libya policy to date, and Boehner pulled few punches. The Republican leader argued that Obama’s handling of the civil war “has left many Members of Congress, as well as the American people, frustrated by the lack of clarity over the Administration’s strategic policies, by a refusal to acknowledge and respect the role of the Congress, and by a refusal to comply with the basic tenets of the War Powers Resolution.”
Boehner goes on to tell Obama that either “you have concluded the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the mission in Libya, or you have determined the War Powers Resolution is contrary to the Constitution. The House, and the American people whom we represent, deserve to know the determination you have made.”
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor responded Tuesday evening that the administration is “in the final stages of preparing extensive information for the House and Senate that will address a whole host of issues about our ongoing efforts in Libya, including those raised in the House resolution as well as our legal analysis with regard to the War Powers Resolution.”
The House approved a resolution this month questioning the administration’s involvement in the Libyan civil war and demanding detailed explanations of the administration’s justification for becoming engaged in the conflict.
The United States is participating in a NATO-led campaign that began March 18 in response to international concerns that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was attacking unarmed civilians and protesters.