Paradox: Conflicting House Resolutions on Libya Both Fail

Posted: Jun 24, 2011 2:25 PM

The House voted on two diametrically opposed Libya-related resolutions today.  The first item, introduced by Democrat (and impeached federal judge) Alcee Hastings, would have lent Congressional authorization to the war time- and scope-limited kinetic military non-hostilities (known in military shorthand as TASLKMNH).  It failed overwhelmingly, not that the president really cares either way: 

The House of Representatives this afternoon declined to grant the president the authority to continue supporting the NATO mission in Libya, another sign of rebellion brewing thousands of miles away on Capitol Hill as NATO's bombing campaign in support of Libyan rebels enters its fourth month.  Frustrated lawmakers from both parties have threatened to cut off funding for U.S. operations there amid concerns about their cost and growing dissatisfaction with the Obama administration's skirting of the War Powers Resolution.

With wide bipartisan opposition, a vote on a resolution to authorize operations failed today 123-295, with 70 Democrats joining 225 Republicans in opposing authorization. Just eight Republicans and 115 Democrats voted to give the president the authority.

Finally, you may mutter to yourself, Congress is at last rebuking the White House and asserting itself as a check on runaway executive authority.  Not so fast.  The second resolution, introduced by Republican Tom Rooney, would have cut off some funding for the conflict (yes, the very same conflict this very same legislative body had just rejected by a wide margin).  It also failed, 180-238.   The American people oppose the conflict 39/46, according to Gallup.  The House of Representatives kinda, sorta embraced that sentiment by refusing to endorse the TASLKMNH, but also declined to shut off the money spigot.  I'd suggest that Congress doesn't have the courage of its convictions, but I'm not sure Congress has any genuine convictions here. what?

UPDATE:  Rep. Allen West explained his seemingly contradictory vote on Twitter:

@AllenWest - Rep. Rooney's resolution to stop funding Libya "with exceptions" doesn't go far enough and I'll vote No. There aren't exemptions to the law