Seeking to avoid a showdown over Libya, House GOP leaders have pulled back from a floor vote on a resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that would bar U.S. involvement in the NATO-led campaign to topple Muammar Qhadafi.
GOP leaders were scrambling on Wednesday morning to come up with an alternative plan for considering the measure. These could include having the Armed Services or Foreign Affairs committees draft back-up proposals.
Citing “lots of unrest on both sides of the aisle,” a senior House GOP aide said Republican leaders are still working through their options.
Another senior Republican staffer said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) “is concerned that if this were to come to the floor now, it would pass” and could adversely affect the NATO mission in Libya. ~Politico
If the resolution passed, it probably would adversely affect the mission in Libya. Of course, it is supposed to affect the mission adversely. The purpose of the resolution is to withdraw U.S. forces from that mission. That probably would make it very difficult for the non-U.S. allies to continue attacking Libya, and NATO might be forced to settle for a negotiated settlement. Had the administration gone to Congress and sought authorization before the war began, the U.S. and our allies wouldn’t be in this predicament. The administration seems to have counted on such abject surrender from Congress that something like this would never come up, and for the last two months they have been right, but it is just remotely possible that the administration’s contempt for the nation’s representatives will come back to haunt it. The House majority leadership may succeed in stopping this resolution from passing, but at least they will have been forced to take a public stand on the war in the process.
Update: Roll Call reports that the House GOP leadership is trying to rein in Republicans dissatisfied with the administration’s handling of the war:
Frustrated by the White House’s handling of the civil war in Libya, House Republicans will meet Thursday to discuss what steps Congress should take to intervene — including the possibility of backing Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s resolution calling for an end to U.S. involvement.
Although GOP support for the Ohio Democrat’s resolution is far from certain, an aide said the fact that it is even being discussed is a sign of how unhappy Republicans are. “Members are really angry with the way the administration has handled this,” a GOP aide said.
Second Update: Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway once again explain why the war in Libya is illegal.