House Members were quick to criticize a White House report released Wednesday evening about U.S. military action in Libya, contending it wasn’t sufficient to satisfy the War Powers Act.
Democrats and Republicans in the House have been pushing President Barack Obama to seek Congressional approval for the ongoing military operation. The War Powers Act requires the administration to request Congressional approval for major ongoing military action within 60 days and remove troops from the theater in 90 days if approval is not granted. The first deadline passed in May; the second deadline is fast approaching.
Obama has attempted to find a way around a Congressional resolution of approval, and Wednesday’s report argued that Congressional approval is unnecessary because the United States has moved to a support role in Libya and that no ground troops are involved.
The criticism from Capitol Hill was swift and bipartisan.
“Unfortunately, a progress report from the White House is no substitute for congressional authorization,” Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said in a statement.
“The White House claim that the war is not war is not a legal argument,” the Ohio Democrat said in a statement. “It is a political argument. The legal argument will hopefully be addressed by the courts.”
Brendan Buck, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said the president has fallen short on explaining the operation’s importance to national security and U.S. policy goals.
“We will review the information that was provided today, but hope and expect that this will serve as the beginning, not the end, of the President’s explanation for continued American operations in Libya,” he added.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.