White House Calls Lawmakers to an Afternoon Briefing

Posted March 25, 2011 at 12:36pm

The White House has scheduled a last-minute Congressional briefing on Libya for Friday afternoon, Congressional aides confirmed. White House aides sent notice late Friday morning of the bipartisan, bicameral invitation for the 2 p.m. meeting to discuss Libya. The meeting is Members-only and was expected to last an hour. If lawmakers are unable to attend in person, there will be a call-in option.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will call into the meeting, according to a spokesman.

The meeting comes on the heels of the Obama administration’s decision to hold a classified Congressional briefing Wednesday on Libya. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen and National Intelligence Director James Clapper are among the Obama administration officials slated to address Members of Congress. The briefing will take place in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium.

The United Nations Security Council authorized a no-fly zone Thursday in response to the Libyan government’s violent crackdown on political opposition. An international coalition, which includes the U.S., began enforcing the zone Saturday.

President Barack Obama has faced mounting bipartisan criticism on his approach to U.S. involvement in Libya and has struggled to publicly defend his response. In particular, lawmakers of both parties have complained about the White House not keeping them updated as the president deepens U.S. involvement in the conflict.

One Democratic leadership aide described Obama and administration aides as playing “catch-up” before lawmakers return from the weeklong recess.