House bars ground troops in Libya

May 26, 2011 at 3:20 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. House voted 416-5 Thursday to bar the Obama administration from placing ground troops in Libya.

The vote was the latest indication of congressional concern the administration might be thinking about expanding the role of the U.S. military in North Africa, The Hill newspaper reported.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and followed a Wednesday voice vote to accept an amendment from Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., saying the NDAA does not authorize further military action in Libya.

Congressional critics complain the administration has yet to seek congressional authorization to use force in Libya, which under the War Powers Act must come within 60 days after the start of hostilities.

The Hill said President Barack Obama repeatedly has ruled out the use of ground troops in Libya. Wednesday, Obama said the lack of ground troops would limit airstrike operations.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said Obama is breaking the law in Libya because he failed to get congressional approval for the action.

Amash and other lawmakers from both major parties criticized Obama during a hearing in Washington Wednesday.

"The undeniable conclusion is that the president is breaking the law by continuing the unilateral offensive war against Libya," Amash, a conservative freshman testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee said. "The tragedy, for our system of self-government, would be if Congress continued to do nothing."

Amash has proposed a bill to end funding for the engagement until the president gets congressional authorization, The Washington Post reported.

Under the War Powers resolution Obama was supposed to get Congress' authorization to continue the operation in Libya beyond 60 days. Obama sent a letter to Congress asking it to pass a resolution supporting U.S. action in Libya.

NATO members are conducting most of the airstrikes with U.S. forces flying the majority of the reconnaissance, surveillance and refueling missions.

U.S. aircraft account for a quarter of the approximately 150 missions flown each day by NATO forces, the report said.

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