The White House sent its much anticipated report on U.S. involvement in Libya to Congress on Wednesday.The 38-page report says Congressional approval isn’t needed for Americans in Libya because “U.S. operations do not involve sustained ground fighting, or active exchanges of fire with with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops or U.S. casualties…” (via The New York Times)
The report makes a legal argument based on what the President’s been saying for months — that the U.S. is only meeting its NATO obligation — “using force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack.”
Congress disagrees, claiming the president is violating the War Powers Act of 1973 by deploying troops to a combat zone for more than 90 days. To highlight the seriousness with which they view the violation, 10 Congressmen filed a bipartisan lawsuit yesterday against the President and Secretary of defence Robert Gates.
The complaint says the president is legally violating the War Powers Act and seeks to end Libyan involvement immediately. It comes one day after House Speaker Boehner sent the president a letter suggesting he was about to run out of time under the Vietnam-era law.
Former Congressional appointees and members of the bipartisan Constitution Project maintain the lawsuit is valid and that U.S. action in Libya is unconstitutional — a violation of Article I section 8 outlining Congressional authority.
The White House did admit the first two months in Libya cost taxpayers $716 million and will reach $1.1 billion by September 1.
All of this fits within larger concerns that the administration uses remote drones and missiles without formal approval.
American support for the conflict continues to wane, with a Ramrussen report out Tuesday showing only 26% of Americans favour continued military action in Libya, and 59% think the president should get congressional approval.
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