Obama asks Congress for a resolution of support on Libya

Sixty days after launching military action against Libya, President Obama on Friday sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking them to pass a resolution supporting the U.S. mission.

"I wish to express my support for the bipartisan resolution drafted by Senators Kerry, McCain, Levin, Feinstein, Graham, and Lieberman, which would confirm that the Congress supports the U.S. mission in Libya and that both branches are united in their commitment to supporting the aspirations of the Libyan people for political reform and self-government," Obama wrote.

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The 1973 War Powers Act (WPA) — the statute President Obama invoked when he launched forces in March — requires presidents to secure congressional approval for military operations within 60 days, or withdraw forces within the next 30. 

"Congressional action in support of the mission would underline the U.S. commitment to this remarkable international effort," Obama wrote. "Such a Resolution is also important in the context of our constitutional framework, as it would demonstrate a unity of purpose among the political branches on this important national security matter."

In his letter, Obama wrote that the U.S. military is playing a support role now, but its participation is necessary to the success of the NATO-led operation. 

"While we are no longer in the lead, U.S. support for the NATO-based coalition remains crucial to assuring the success of international efforts to protect civilians from the actions of  the Qaddafi regime," the president wrote.

A spokesman for House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP sees omens of a Dem wave in Wisconsin Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks MORE (R-Ohio) said the House GOP had not made a decision yet on the president's request.

“We received the President’s letter but have yet to see the draft resolution it mentions. No decisions will be made until such a review takes place and we discuss the matter with our members,” Michael Steel said.

Congress has not authorized the mission — which includes a no-fly zone, bombing raids, a sea blockade and civilian-protection operations.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear testimony next week from House members on whether Congress needs to provide explicit authorization for continued military operations in Libya.

On Thursday, six Senate Republicans wrote to Obama asking him if he intends to comply with the WPA.

“Friday is the final day of the statutory sixty-day period for you to terminate the use of the United States Armed Forces in Libya under the War Powers Resolution,” reads the letter, spearheaded by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Regulation: Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA | Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | NTSB 'gathering information' on Tesla crash Overnight Finance: Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | Mulvaney declares 'new mission' for consumer bureau | Trump says solar tariffs will boost jobs Senate confirms Jerome Powell as Fed chairman MORE (R-Ky.). “As recently as last week your administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continue indefinitely.”

Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: report Overnight Regulation: Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA | Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | NTSB 'gathering information' on Tesla crash Overnight Finance: Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | Mulvaney declares 'new mission' for consumer bureau | Trump says solar tariffs will boost jobs MORE (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator claims to have informant alleging secret anti-Trump meetings Missing text messages inflame Republican anger at the FBI GOP senator releases additional messages from FBI agent removed from Mueller probe MORE (R-Wis.), Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (R-Okla.) and John CornynJohn CornynSenate faces difficult path to immigration deal Emboldened conservatives press Ryan to bring hard-right immigration bill to floor Gorsuch has dinner at GOP senator’s home MORE (R-Texas) also endorsed the letter.

--Russell Berman, Mike Lillis and Pete Kasperowicz contributed to this post.