Pawlenty: War Powers Act 'does not apply' to Libyan mission

NEW YORK — GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday that the War Powers Act "does not apply" to the U.S. intervention in Libya, but that he would have consulted with Congress anyway if he had launched the mission as president.

During a question-and-answer session following a speech on foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, Pawlenty said that he would confer with members of Congress "as a courtesy and gesture of respect," but that he does not believe congressional authorization would be required for such a mission.

It's not the first time Pawlenty has questioned the need to go through Congress on the use of U.S. force in Libya, but it comes as lawmakers in both parties have upped their pressured the administration to seek formal authorization.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has threatened to cut off funds for the Libyan mission if the White House does not better explain the intervention. 

Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, used his speech to call for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's ouster and criticized Obama for being hesitant to act more boldly to remove him from power.

Even though the ex-governor distinguished himself from Congress on war powers, he sought to assuage concerns that he would not work in concert with lawmakers on similar issues.

Obama merely "had them over for sandwiches" when explaining his Libya policy. Pawlenty said he would consult more as president.