WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives defeated a largely symbolic motion today that would have withdrawn funding for combat operations in Libya.
Republican Reps. Chip Cravaack and John Kline, both retired military officers, supported the measure, which was defeated 180-238. The other six members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation voted against the measure.
Many in Congress were upset that President Obama had not asked for continuing authorization to carry out raids on Libya, as called for by the War Powers Act.
In a statement, Kline said he voted for the bill because, “I remain deeply concerned that the president has failed to clearly define our objective in Libya to the American people – including our troops.”
Some typically anti-war Democrats switched positions on this vote, supporting the administration.
Earlier this week, DFL Rep. Keith Ellison said he was disappointed by President Obama’s newly-announced plan to begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan, saying, “I just think it’s time get out of there.”
But today, Ellison, who’s also co-chair of the generally anti-war Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he supports continuing U.S. military operations against the Libyan regime.
“The U.S. actions in Libya are not like those in Iraq and should not be allowed to evolve into a situation like the Iraq War. We did not unilaterally declare war against another country,” Ellison said. “Our actions were sanctioned by the UN, the Arab League, and – most importantly – the Libyan people themselves.”