Durbin: Libya conflict requires authorization by Congress

“I think the president is right in what he is doing, but we have a responsibility … to decide that this offensive use of military force, even for a good humanitarian purpose, is one that requires the authorization of the American people through their members of Congress,” Durbin said from the floor Thursday.

Durbin was reacting to a 32-page report released by the White House on Wednesday that argues the Libya mission does not need congressional authorization because it doesn’t amount to “hostilities.” 

“I believe that what we are engaged in with Libya is a matter that should come under the War Powers Resolution,” Durbin said. “I believe that we should, as a Congress, consider it under the War Powers Resolution.”

Earlier Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) indicated he would offer a resolution “in the very near future” with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that would authorize the president to continue the fight. 

Durbin said he hoped that by the end of the day there would be a bipartisan resolution to authorize further action in Libya, but the Senate adjourned at 5:39 p.m. and is not set to return until Monday at 2 p.m.