White House says it will answer Congress on Libya

AP News
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Posted: Jun 08, 2011 4:26 PM
White House says it will answer Congress on Libya

The White House now says it will respond to detailed questions on the U.S. mission in Libya within a two-week deadline set by the House in a resolution approved last week.

Aides to President Barack Obama had previously brushed off the non-binding resolution, calling it unhelpful and unnecessary. The White House suggested earlier this week it had no plans to formally respond to the questions posed in the measure because officials were already providing details in dozens of briefings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

While officials maintain that those briefings are sufficient, the White House now says it will also respond specifically to the questions in the resolution, which was sponsored by House Speaker John Boehner.

"We will answer the questions in that resolution within the time frame that he specifies," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday.

The deadline for providing answers on the operation's objective, its costs and its impact on the nation's two other wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is June 17.

Carney said the White House decision to directly respond to the House resolution is "in the spirit that we have answered questions that members have had in the past." He would not say how the White House would go about providing its response.

The House resolution calls on the president to send Congress a detailed written report with answers to more than 20 questions. The resolution also chastised Obama for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for the Libyan mission. Forty-five Democrats joined the Republican majority in passing the measure.

Obama ordered air strikes in March after a U.N. resolution, and consultation with Congress has been limited. The Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war, and the 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to obtain congressional authorization within 60 days of the start of military operations, a deadline that passed last month.