Congress presses Obama on Libya decision

Protesters chant anti-U.S. slogans May 1 in front of the Gadhafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli, Libya. (Associated Press)Protesters chant anti-U.S. slogans May 1 in front of the Gadhafi family compound in a residential area of Tripoli, Libya. (Associated Press)
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Lawmakers of both parties pushed Wednesday for more information on why Congress was left out of the loop as the Obama administration weighed military action in Libya earlier this year.

The House Armed Services Committee, without dissent, approved a resolution giving Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates two weeks to hand over all material concerning the decision about how to deal with Congress in the month before President Obama ordered U.S. forces to lead U.N.-backed NATO air-strikes against Libya March 19.

Although congressional leaders were briefed by phone in the hours before the president’s announcement that night, “a phone call can hardly be considered significant consultation,” said Rep. Buck McKeon, the California Republican who chairs the committee.

A companion resolution covering the State Department was due to be considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee later Wednesday. If that is passed, both resolutions will go next to the House floor for consideration.

The House Armed Services Committee voice vote on Libya came as it met to consider the annual defense authorization bill.

Policy provisions of the bill would reaffirm the congressional resolution authorizing the global war on terror and grants new powers to the Pentagon to launch clandestine operations in cyber-space. GOP lawmakers were also seeking an amendment designed to slow or limit the impact of the repeal of the don’t ask/don’t tell policy on openly gay men and women serving in the military.

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