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Boehner, GOP Crafts Legislation to Allow Continuation of US Mission in Libya

John Boehner’s pathetic performance abdicating the Constitutional responsibility over war powers to the executive continues. The House leadership, prior to a closed caucus meeting, will devise a bill to continue US involvement in Libya, as a counterpoint to Dennis Kucinich’s War Powers resolution to end involvement.

This comes just as over 60 House Republicans issued their own resolution of disapproval of the war in Libya.

Setting up a balance-of-power showdown over Libya, more than 60 House Republicans on Thursday embraced a measure calling on Congress to disapprove of U.S. military involvement in the NATO-led campaign against Moammar Gadhafi.

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio introduced the resolution with the support of 62 House members, mostly Republicans and anti-war Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. The measure simply states that based on the War Powers Resolution, “Congress does not approve of United States intervention in Libya.”

The Senate has their own resolution of approval on Libya, authored by John Kerry and John McCain, which President Obama has thrown his backing behind. But we are 74 days into this conflict, with no authority from Congress over the mission, despite Constitutional authority. Even the broadest reading of the War Powers Act, assuming that the executive legally had the power to engage in a military mission in Libya, runs out after 60 days.

So after blocking a measure that would apparently have received the necessary support, the House leadership will introduce their own bill approving the mission, and will surely strong-arm their members to support it. The Senate would almost certainly sign on to that – they planned to vote on the resolution of approval next week anyway – and then problem solved, crisis averted. For the war machine, anyway.

Since the House leadership clearly felt that the Kucinich resolution would pass, however, there’s certainly the possibility that the numbers won’t add up and they won’t be able to get the requisite support for their resolution. Stay tuned.

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David Dayen

David Dayen