The House last week dealt a symbolic blow to the Obama Administration’s military activities in Libya by overwhelmingly rejecting a resolution, H.J. Res. 68, that would have authorized the continued use of limited force there for the next year in support of the NATO-led operation. The June 24 vote was 295 to 123. However, the House lawmakers did not go as far as to strip funding from the intervention in Libya; they voted down a second measure, H.R.2278, that same day that would have allowed funding only for support activities like search and rescue and aerial refueling. That vote was 238 to 180. H.J. Res. 68 was based on similar legislation that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced last week in the Senate; that chamber has yet to vote on it. Some lawmakers continue to spar with the White House over the President’s authority to continue hostilities in Libya under the War Powers resolution. (See New York Times political blog report and San Francisco Chronicle report.) (See also Fox News report.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.