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Question of the Week: Libya

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Question: Has Congress voted to authorize the United States use of military force in Libya?

Answer: No, Congress has not authorized military action in Libya. The War Powers Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-148) requires the president get congressional authorization when sending U.S. forces into conflicts for more than 60 days. However, President Obama has argued that he does not need congressional authorization because the military is participating in a NATO mission.

On June 24, I voted for H.R. 2278, which would have prohibited funds appropriated from being used to support the NATO operation with respect to Libya. H.R. 2278 would have allowed some funds to be used for search and rescue operations, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, operational planning; and non-combat missions. H.R. 2278 failed to by a vote of 180 to 238.

I also opposed H. J. Res. 68, which would have authorized the President to continue limited use of the U.S. Armed Forces in Libya, in support of U.S. national security policy interests, as part of the NATO mission to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011). The authorization for such use of force would have expired one year after the date of enactment of the joint resolution. H. J. Res. 68 failed by a vote of 123 to 295.


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