Kucinich, Paul, McKeon join legislation on paying for Libya operations

A liberal House member, a conservative budget hawk and the GOP House Armed Services Committee chairman have joined an effort to force the Obama administration to use funds from non-Defense accounts to finance the Libyan intervention.

Liberal stalwart Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), small-government advocate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and HASC Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) have signed onto a bill offered last week by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) seeking a list of offsets to pay for the military campaign.

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Kucinich is intensely anti-war; McKeon and Bartlett have raised concerns about U.S. military involvement in Libya. Both Republicans told The Hill last week they would not have used American combat forces to prevent forces loyal to embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from crushing opposition forces and targeting civilians.    

The measure would require President Obama to give Congress a list of offsets from non-security discretionary programs for fiscal year 2011, according to a summary of the provided by Bartlett’s office.

If approved, the bill would move the freed-up monies to the Defense Department to replace the amounts spent in Libya in fiscal year 2011," according to the summary. 

“The bill requires the President to identify for Americans his priorities for how to pay for the costs for his war in Libya without increasing our $14 trillion national debt or by raising taxes,” Bartlett said in a statement.

The measure would prohibit the administration from shifting funds from any DoD, Department of Homeland Security or Department of Veterans Affairs program or account. 

The secretary of defense would be required to give the president estimates for Libya costs by June 1, based on expenses through May 15.