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Friday, June 17, 2011

'It doesn't pass the straight face test': Republican Speaker pours scorn on Obama claim of authority for Libya mission - 16th June 2011

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has slammed President Barack Obama's claim he can carry on military action in Libya without a vote from Congress.

The administration had claimed American forces were not facing the 'hostilities' that would force the President to seek Congressional approval for the campaign.

'Yet we've got drone attacks under way. We're spending $10 million a day, part of an effort to drop bombs on [Colonel] Gaddafi's compound,' said John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

'It doesn't pass the straight face test in my view that we're not in the midst of hostilities.'

The Ohio Republican raised the prospect of the House taking steps, possibly next week, to limit U.S. spending on the military operation.

In a letter to Mr Obama this week, Mr Boehner said the commander in chief will be in violation of the War Powers Resolution by Sunday and pressed the administration to outline the legal grounds for the action.

The 1973 law prohibits the military from being involved in actions for more than 60 days without congressional authorization, plus a 30-day extension.

The Libya campaign has gone on for nearly three months and leader Muammar Gaddafi has maintained his grip on power.

The administration had earlier answered growing anger in Congress by claiming U.S. forces were only taking a supporting role in the Libyan conflict.

In a detailed, 32-page report to Congress the White House also put the cost of U.S military operations and humanitarian assistance in Libya at about $800million (£496million), as of June 3

The total is set to increase to $1.1billion (£700million) by early September.

The White House said: 'The current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorisation because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of "hostilities" contemplated by the resolution's 60-day termination provision.' Read More