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 BoehnerEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Crowley, Shuster moving to K Street On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 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 PaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 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 LeeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times The 10 GOP senators who may break with Trump on emergency Congress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support MORE (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority GOP senator voices concern about Trump order, hasn't decided whether he'll back it MORE (R-Wis.), Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.) and John CornynJohn CornynInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE (R-Texas) also endorsed the letter.

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