Congress on Libya III

The House will vote this week on whether to force President Obama to end U.S. participation in NATO military attacks on the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The resolution from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is very straightforward, as he charges that the White House has ignored the War Powers Act, which requires a withdrawal within 60 days of the start of hostilities, unless Congress has authorized military action.

"Congress directs the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya by not later than the date that is 15 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution," the text reads.

Last week, the House voted to block the deployment of any ground troops in Libya, signaling bipartisan discontent with U.S. action there.

But actually taking the next step to require a withdrawal is a much larger step, and may not gain an equal number of votes.

We saw that back in 1999, when House Republicans challenged the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia - there was a lot of intense opposition to President Clinton's move, but the Congress never voted to cut off funds for that operation.

"Today we are in a constitutional crisis," argues Kucinich, who skewered President Obama for not following the War Powers Act, which requires a withdrawal of troops 60 days after their deployment, if the Congress has not authorized that action.

So far there has been no vote on such an authorization by this Congress, and the White House has made clear it is not going to follow the specifics in the War Powers language.

"The critical issue before this nation today is not Libyan democracy," complained Kucinich, who has been a leading anti-war critic in Congress for years.

We'll see if it translates into a serious foreign policy challenge to this White House or not.

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