The president has the authority to go to war without congressional approval, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said.
In an interview for the conservative National Review on Wednesday, Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) took the opposite view of some lawmakers who have criticized President Obama for authorizing military airstrikes in Libya without first seeking authorization from Congress.
“The president has the absolute constitutional right to send troops in,” King said. “I am not a supporter of the War Powers Act. A president, especially in this day and age, has the right to use American forces without going to Congress first.”
King added that President Obama should go to Congress anyway for approval and to sufficiently explain his plans for U.S. involvement in Libya. “He has not formulated a policy,” King said. “He should go to Congress, now, to get approval and lay out what the strategy is and what the goals are.”
Since the U.S. took the lead in enforcing a United Nations resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya and a cease-fire of Libyan military forces, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized President Obama for not formally consulting Congress ahead of authorizing U.S. involvement.
Earlier this week, Obama sent a letter to Congress formally announcing that the U.S. had begun military attacks. While some lawmakers criticized Obama for not doing this before the attacks, others defended him.
On Wednesday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Obama saying that he was "troubled" that the U.S. had begun airstrikes without a clearly defined mission.