War Powers Act/Libya Debate is a Colossal Waste of Time
It was only a matter of time, since it is part of the statute, that there would be a national debate in the Congress on Libya pursuant to the War Powers Act. This unconstitutional Act is a favorite of the left and most Democrats, as well as pockets of some Congressional Republicans. The Act should should have gone the way of the dodo bird a long time ago.
As we are reminded in National Review Online this morning by Andrew McCarthy, Congress already has all the war powers it needs pursuant to the Constitution. My favorite is the power of the purse. And, guess what, they could have done something about US involvement in Libya in mid-May.
On May 12, the House Armed Services Committee approved $690 billion in military funding as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). They could have tried again last week when the full House of Representatives approved the measure in a 322-96 vote.
References in the NDAA to substantive Libya matters? Policy tumbleweed. The Senate is supposed to take up their version of the NDAA later this month. But Congress does not need to wait for the NDAA process to move forward, it can pass free-standing measures on Libya. But there is no political will to do so, in either chamber.
Enter the former quixotic Democratic presidential candidate and Member of Congress, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Kucinich has offered a privileged resolution on War Powers and Libya. The resolution says that the White House has ignored the War Powers Act, requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops within 60 days, from the start of hostilities, unless Congress authorizes the engagement.
All of this politicking leaves House Republicans in a political pickle because the buzz from the Hill is that freshmen Republican Members may vote in favor of the Kucinich measure. Let’s hope that is not true or, if so, that more reasonable political minds prevail. No matter how you feel about U.S. involvement in Libya, a War Powers Act resolution on Libya is a colossal waste of time and Republicans should not be fueling it.
As an aside to this post, we did not need to go through NATO to deal with the Libya regime. The President has all the Constitutional and statutory authority he needed to deal with that problem in a unilateral manner.