Measure authorizing Libya mission fails in U.S. House

11:10, June 25, 2011      

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to defeat a measure authorizing the U.S. mission in Libya, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama who supported the resolution.

The 123-295 vote saw 70 members from the president's own Democratic Party break ranks to vote against it, while the other 115 voted for it. The Republicans, who controlled the House, voted mostly against it -- only eight for and 225 against.

The measure is modeled on a Senate version co-sponsored by John Kerry and John McCain. It authorizes the U.S. mission in Libya, approving limited operations for one year but disallowing the use of ground forces. The White House has voiced support for the measure.

The House result is unlikely to have a prompt impact on U.S. operations in Libya.

After the voting was complete, the House immediately began considering another measure offered by Rep. Tom Rooney. It strikes current-year defense funding for the Libya mission except for search and rescue, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, aerial refueling and operational planning. Reports indicated it may pass the House, escalating the largely symbolic spat between the Congress and the White House on war powers.

According to the U.S. Constitution, the Congress has the right to declare wars. The 1973 War Powers Resolution prohibits U.S. armed forces from being involved in military actions for over 60 days, with a 30-day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. Congress members have been demanding the Obama administration seek approval for continued participation in the Libya conflict.

But the White House argues U.S. military's support role in Libya does not meet the threshold set by the War Powers Resolution, and therefore requires no Congressional approval. It said a defunding vote sends a "bad message."

Source: Xinhua
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