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Letter to The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to urge you to clarify the purpose and scope of U.S. military action against Libya and to request explicit approval from Congress for U.S. military action there or immediately cease U.S. military action against Libya because it is in direct violation of the War Powers Resolution (P.L. 93-148).

As you are aware, on February 15, 2011, the Libyan people began a major uprising against the repressive regime of Muammar al Qadhafi who has led Libya for over 41 years. They are fighting for the same basic freedoms and liberties that we enjoy in America. We support pro-democracy movements and those who embrace the values of freedom. Consistent with the no-fly zone established by the United Nations Security Council's adoption of Resolution 1973 on March 17, 2011, the U.S. formally established Operation Odyssey Dawn to support a multinational military effort to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians in Libya. On March 21, 2011, you formally notified Congress that the U.S. had begun military attacks on Libya, which had started on March 19, 2011. This military action, which is now on its 89th day, is in violation of the War Powers Resolution and must cease if you are unable to obtain Congressional approval.

Section 4(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution requires you to report to Congress any introduction of U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities, and section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution requires that you terminate the use of U.S. Armed Forces within 60 days unless Congress authorizes the use of U.S. Armed Forces, extends the time period, or is physically unable to meet as a result of an attack on the U.S. You are required by law "in every possible instance" to consult with Congress before sending U.S. Armed Forces into situations of hostilities and imminent hostilities and to continue these consultations throughout the conflict.

We believe the military action in which the U.S. Armed Forces are presently engaged is in direct violation of the War Powers Resolution, inter alia, because (1) you did not properly consult with Congress and only officially notified Congress after the U.S. military action had commenced; and (2) the military action has exceeded the 60-day limit and none of the exceptions stated in section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution apply. The U.S. military action against Libya is now 29 days over the 60-day deadline and counting. This current protracted U.S. military action in Libya cannot continue without approval from Congress.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on May 12, 2011, that, to date, the air offensive in Libya had cost the Pentagon $750 million, and we continue to spend millions each day on this conflict. We believe that your Administration has not made a clear case to Congress on the purpose and scope of our military action in Libya and urge you to provide us with an acceptable path forward. We cannot continue to spend precious taxpayer funds to support this illegal military action. If you are unable or unwilling to provide Congress with this request, you will remain in violation of the War Powers Resolution and Congress will consider withholding funds in order for the U.S. military to disengage from their involvement with the NATO led operations in Libya.

Tim Griffin
Member of Congress

Joe Wilson
Member of Congress

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress

Michael Turner
Member of Congress

Tom Cole
Member of Congress

Tom Rooney
Member of Congress

Dan Burton
Member of Congress

Steven Palazzo
Member of Congress

Steve Southerland
Member of Congress

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