House May Pass Bill to Defund Libya -- Sort Of

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 23 2011 4:50 PM

House May Pass Bill to Defund Libya -- Sort Of

Tomorrow, the House will vote on a resolution from Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., to "limit the use of funds" that can be spent on the kinetic military action in Libya. And the word is that it might pass. Would it die in the Senate? Sure: The game there is on a weaker resolution coming from John Kerry and John McCain. But Rooney's resolution isn't a pure "defund the war" measure, either. It includes this exception:

The limitation on funds under subsection (a) does not apply with respect to—

(1) search and rescue;

(2) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance;

(3) aerial refueling; and

(4) operational planning.

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It suggests, as a lot of the talk around this suggests, that opposition to what's going on in Libya is only partly about the war and the Constitutionality of it; it's about Congress getting the run-around from the White House as the operation's conducted. That's been a stupid mismanagement on the White House's part, and it's created critics out of would-be supporters.

"What's the message to the White House?" said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., a critic of the way the White House has handled this. "I'm trying to figure that out. There's a desire to enforce the War Powers Resolution."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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