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Friday, June 24, 2011

Libya Setbacks for the President

Gallup reports:
Americans are more likely to say they disapprove than approve of the U.S. military action in Libya. That represents a shift from three months ago, just after the mission began, when approval exceeded disapproval.

The results are based on a Gallup poll conducted June 22. The House of Representatives is set to vote on resolutions that would limit the U.S. role in Libya, partly because of questions about whether the mission violates the War Powers Act since President Obama did not obtain congressional authorization for it. The U.S. sent forces to Libya in March as part of a multinational force to protect rebels in that country from attacks by Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.

Democrats are the only political group to show more support for than opposition to the U.S. involvement. Independents are the most likely to show opposition, with a majority disapproving.

Republicans' opinions have changed the most since March, moving to 39% approval from 57%. This likely reflects increased criticism of the mission's legality and cost from some Republican congressional leaders and presidential candidates. Independents' views have become slightly more negative over the last three months, while Democrats' opinions have been largely stable.

The poll sought to explore Americans' reasons for opposition to the operation by asking those who disapprove whether they disagree with the substance of the policy or with how it was executed. Most who disapprove, 64%, do so because they do not think the U.S. should be in Libya at all. Just under a third, 29%, disapprove because they do not think the president obtained the necessary approval from Congress to conduct the operation.

Politico reports:

The House delivered a surprising split decision on Libya Friday: Voting against authorizing the use of American forces there and then, an hour later, refusing to limit funding for the mission.

In essence, the House decided that it will neither endorse nor totally reject American intervention in Libya.

It appears that a last-minute White House lobbying effort to stave off Democratic defections worked — at least on the spending-limitation bill. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked House Democrats to back their president in a closed-door meeting in the Capitol on Thursday, and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon summoned a small group of liberals to the Situation Room at 7 a.m. Friday for a classified briefing that may have influenced a handful of votes.

Still, the House rejection of a one-year authorization of the use of force in Libya earlier Friday represented the most serious congressional challenge to the president’s war-making authority in more than a decade. It was a symbolic vote, but one that was felt on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

H J RES 68 RECORDED VOTE 24-Jun-2011 12:16 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Authorizing the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya

Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 8 225 6
Democratic 115 70 7
TOTALS 123 295 13

H R 2278 RECORDED VOTE 24-Jun-2011 2:00 PM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: To limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law

Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 144 89 6
Democratic 36 149 7
TOTALS 180 238 13