Two Republican congressmen, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (IL) and Rep. Justin Amash (MI), have introduced legislation to the House of Representatives that would prevent the United States from carrying out further military operations in Libya until such actions were authorized by Congress.
Johnson and Amash claimed that President Barack Obama lacked the constitutional authority to launch a military assault unless there was an imminent threat against the country.
“The Constitution empowers Congress to declare war and to provide for the Armed Services,” Amash said Monday in a statement. “The President cannot constitutionally order an offensive military operation without Congress’s authorization. The argument is not about ‘consultation’ with Congress. It’s more fundamental than that. It’s about whether the President by himself can order an attack on another country when that country has not attacked or is not about to attack the U.S. The Constitution plainly forbids such action.”
The Restoring Essential Constitutional Constraints for Libyan Action Involving the Military Act – or RECLAIM Act – would force President Obama to cease the use of force in Libya unless Congress specifically authorized such use of force. The bill would also block funding for the operations.
“Our country has no business enmeshing itself in another country’s civil unrest,” Johnson said in a statement released last week. “We were not attacked. Our national security interests are not at stake. It is the American people, through their elected representatives, who are constitutionally empowered to take this kind of action. Not the President.”
On the other side of the aisle, House Democrat Dennis Kucinich (OH) said that the president’s decision to order U.S. air strikes against Libya could be ‘an impeachable offense.’
Eric W. Dolan
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