Reps. Paul, Kucinich split on Libya measures

Outspoken Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Friday morning offered different advice Friday on how members should vote on the two Libya resolutions on the floor today.

The first resolution, H.J.Res. 68, would authorize ongoing military action in Libya, while the second, H.R. 2278, would prohibit spending for the operation, with some exceptions related to search and rescue, intelligence, aerial refueling and operational planning.

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The votes on Libya come amid a standoff between the White House and Congress over war powers. Many Republicans and some Democrats argue that President Obama does not have the authority under the Constitution to involve the U.S. in the NATO-led mission without congressional authorization.

The White House's position is that the U.S. role in Libya does not constitute "hostilities" and is therefore not covered under the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to seek authorization from Congress 60 days after notifying lawmakers of a military action. 

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the White House's legal argument on Libya didn't pass the "straight-face test."

The resolution to cut off funding for the Libya mission seems to have more support in the House, though it's unclear whether either measure will pass.

Speaking on the House floor, Paul said that while he opposes the first bill, the exceptions in the second bill also make it unacceptable.

"I believe the wording is different, and it says no funds for ground troops, but then it has exceptions," he said of H.R. 2278. "And the exceptions are for all the things we're already doing.

"So I believe that if we vote on it and pass the second one, it will be the first time that this Congress has given authority to the president for what he is doing right now," he added. "I have concluded that not only should the first one be voted down, but it's very important that the second one be voted down as well."

Kucinich called on members to vote for H.R. 2278, but also to return in July and agree to cut off funds for all Libya operations.

"We must put an end not only to the war in Libya, but we must put an end to the thinking that the Constitution is a doormat," Kucinich said. "Defeat the authorization for the war, vote for the Rooney bill which limits the war, and when we return, let's vote for a total cutoff of funds for this wrong-headed adventure."

Debate on the rule for both bills started shortly after 9 a.m.