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 up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Stripping opportunity from DC's children 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 PaulSenators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill GOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci Writer: Fauci, Paul clash shouldn't distract from probe into COVID-19 origins 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 LeeSenate confirms Biden's Air Force secretary Trio of Senate Republicans urges Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines MORE (R-Wis.), Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnNSF funding choice: Move forward or fall behind DHS establishes domestic terror unit within its intelligence office Wasteful 'Endless Frontiers Act' won't counter China's rising influence MORE (R-Okla.) and John CornynJohn CornynBiden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on Eight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division Federal officials abroad are unprotected — in a world of increasing volatility MORE (R-Texas) also endorsed the letter.

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