House votes to bar some aid to Libya fighters
WASHINGTON - The House voted yesterday to bar military aid to Libyan rebels battling Moammar Khadafy but stopped short of prohibiting funds for US involvement in a NATO-led mission now in its fourth month.
Sending a muddled message in the constitutional challenge to President Obama, House Republicans and Democrats signaled their frustration with American participation in a stalemated civil war but also showed an unwillingness to end the operation.
The congressional unrest stems in large part from Obama’s decision not to seek congressional consent for a third war in addition to years-long conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Congress has allowed the president to overreach in Libya,’’ said Representative Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma. “We should not be engaged in military action of this level unless it is authorized and funded by Congress.’’
The House voted 225-201 for an amendment sponsored by Cole to bar the Pentagon from providing “military equipment, training or advice or other support for military activities,’’ to an outside group, such as rebel forces, for military action in or against Libya.
The broad effort also would target contractors in Libya.
Obama has authorized $25 million in nonlethal assistance to the rebels, including thousands of instant meals from Pentagon stocks. The United States has also supplied some $53 million in humanitarian aid. Neither would be affected by the bill.
Moments after the vote, the House rejected a measure that would have prohibited funds for the US military to continue its limited role. The vote was 229-199.
The Senate has delayed consideration of a resolution authorizing the mission in Libya. It is sponsored by John F. Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona.