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House Republicans to Consider Libya Resolutions

The House could follow the Senate’s lead and consider a resolution this week that would authorize U.S. participation in an international military operation in Libya, Speaker John Boehner announced Tuesday evening.

The GOP Conference will discuss at its weekly meeting Wednesday whether to bring up a resolution using language authored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Their resolution, which they put forward in the Senate on Tuesday, would give Congressional approval to continue U.S. military involvement in Libya for one year.

McCain said he would have preferred a more strongly worded resolution. But the Arizona Republican added that the bill he authored with Kerry was an important step forward and deserved to receive wide bipartisan support.

“I will be the first to admit that this authorization is not perfect and will not make everyone happy,” McCain said in floor remarks Tuesday. “That said, this resolution has been a bipartisan effort. My Republican colleagues and I have had to make compromises.”

The House Republican Conference will also discuss whether to proceed with a separate measure that would require President Barack Obama to “remove U.S. forces from hostilities in Libya under the War Powers Resolution except for forces engaged in non-hostile actions,” according to a release. Both proposals were to be posted Tuesday night in preparation for Wednesday’s discussion.

Boehner’s announcement makes good on his vow for the House to act this week, and it follows up on the Ohio Republican’s increasing criticism of the administration over its handling of Libya. House Republicans and some Democrats have argued that Obama should have sought Congressional approval before committing military resources to the NATO-led effort in Libya.

“It is clear that the Obama Administration’s claim that targeted bombings, missile strikes, and other military actions in Libya do not constitute ‘hostilities’ under the War Powers Resolution is not credible,” Boehner said in a statement.

Although Boehner said, “We have no desire to damage the NATO alliance, which has been a strong force for peace and stability in Europe and around the world,” he contended that the use of sustained military troops in the troubled North African country requires Congress’ approval under the Constitution.

The House will also consider the Defense appropriations bill this week, giving Members another platform to debate the Libya issue. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has said he plans to introduce an amendment aimed at cutting off funding for the U.S. role in the mission.

David M. Drucker contributed to this report.

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