Boehner said the House is only in the position of considering Libya bills today because President Obama failed to seek authorization for the Libya mission. He also said he believes the bill in question, H.R. 2278, is a "reasonable approach" because it would allow the U.S. to play a limited support role that does not undermine NATO's efforts to contain Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
But this was immediately rejected by House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who noted that the limited exceptions in the bill would allow activities such as search and rescue, intelligence, aerial refueling and operational planning.
But he said these exceptions "cannot possibly help us either to achieve the humanitarian goal of this mission, or achieve the true humanitarian goal of removing Gadhafi from power."
"It is not a reasonable proposal, it is the worst of all solutions," Berman added.
Other Democrats raised the idea of also allowing the U.S. to engage in activities related to the suppression of Libyan forces, but the bill is not amendable.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who supports the bill, seemed to mock the idea that the entire NATO mission would collapse without the ability of the U.S. to help suppress armed Libyan forces.
"What a great bunch of allies," Frank said. "They can bomb unarmed people, but if they shoot back, they gotta come running to us.
"It's time for once for them to step up," Frank added about U.S. NATO allies. "This is not to protect Gadhafi. It's to say that America can no longer be asked to be the one that does everything everywhere overtime."
The House was expected to approve the bill in a vote Friday afternoon.