US Lawmakers Consider Cutting Funds for Libya Operations

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives takes on two critical votes Friday on the U.S. military role in Libya that has been a source of anger for many in Congress.

House lawmakers are considering two resolutions: one that would cut off funding for U.S. military attacks in Libya and a competing one that would authorize U.S. forces to take part in the NATO-led operation against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

The measure to cut funding would allow U.S. forces to remain engaged in non-hostile actions in Libya such as search and rescue efforts, intelligence, surveillance and refueling.

Both Republicans and Democrats are angry with U.S. President Barack Obama for failing to seek congressional authorization to intervene in the Libya conflict. Some lawmakers accuse Mr. Obama of violating the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which requires congressional approval when U.S. forces are involved in hostilities. But Mr. Obama says the three-month-old Libya campaign does not constitute “hostilities,” so congressional approval is not needed.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met privately with House Democrats Thursday in a last-ditch effort to garner support for the Libya mission.

Mr. Gadhafi vowed this week to continue fighting and denounced NATO for airstrikes that caused civilian casualties.

The Libyan leader said in an audio statement broadcast late Wednesday that NATO states are “murderers” who have “killed our children and grandchildren.”

NATO acknowledged an airstrike on Sunday that caused civilian casualties and one last week that hit a column of rebel military vehicles.