Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Boehner gives Obama Friday deadline on Libya

Stepping up a simmering constitutional conflict, House Speaker John A. Boehner warned President Obama on Tuesday that unless he gets authorization from Congress for his military deployment in Libya, he will be in violation of the War Powers Resolution.

In a letter sent Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Boehner, the top Republican in the constitutional chain of succession, said Mr. Obama must provide a clear justification for committing troops to Libya by Friday. Sunday marks the 90th day since the president notified Congress that U.S. troops had been committed to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, which is designed to protect the rebels fighting Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s government.

In a letter sent Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Boehner, the top Republican in the constitutional chain of succession, said Mr. Obama must provide a clear justification for committing troops to Libya by Friday, which marks the 90th day since the president committed U.S. troops, and the clock started ticking under the War Powers Resolution.

“The Constitution requires the president to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed,’ and one of those laws is the War Powers Resolution, which requires an approving action by Congress or withdrawal within 90 days from the notification of a military operation,” Mr. Boehner said in the letter.

The White House has repeatedly said it has complied with the law by alerting Congress to the initial deployment, and by providing follow-up briefings about the pace and extent of U.S. troops’ commitment.

But the administration has never sought approval from Congress.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, but makes the president commander-in-chief — and those dueling roles have caused tension throughout the nation’s history.

Two weeks ago the House passed a non-binding resolution that urged Mr. Obama to provide detailed information on the deployment. Mr. Boehner at the time signaled that Congress might cut off funding for the deployment in Libya if the administration didn’t comply.

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