US Lawmakers Reject Measure to Cut Funding for Libya Mission

Posted June 24th, 2011 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has rejected two competing measures on the U.S. military role in Libya, which has been a source of anger for many in Congress.

House lawmakers voted Friday against both resolutions — one to authorize ongoing U.S. military action in Libya and another to cut off funding for U.S. military operations there.

The House rejected the authorization measure by a vote of 295 to 123. The vote has no immediate effect on the U.S. role in the NATO-led operation in Libya, but represents direct criticism of President Barack Obama.

The funding resolution was rejected later by a vote of 238 to 180. The measure would have only allowed U.S. forces to remain engaged in non-hostile actions in the campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces. Such actions would include search and rescue efforts, intelligence, surveillance and refueling.

White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed disappointment. He told reporters aboard Air Force One Friday that now is not the time to send that kind of “mixed message” or to “let up” on Mr. Gadhafi.

Both Republicans and Democrats are angry with the president for failing to seek congressional authorization to intervene in Libya.

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.