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Kerry, McCain offer Libya resolution

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., (L) and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced a resolution authorizing U.S. action supporting NATO airstrikes on Libya. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., (L) and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced a resolution authorizing U.S. action supporting NATO airstrikes on Libya. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- Sens. John Kerry and John McCain Tuesday introduced a resolution authorizing U.S. support operations in Libya to thwart House efforts to defund the action.

The resolution would authorize the president "to continue limited use of the United States armed forces in Libya, in support of United States national security interests" for a year. The intervention is being led by NATO in response to a U.N. resolution authorizing airstrikes to keep the Libyan government from slaughtering civilians.

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The White House welcomed the resolution.

"We do welcome the resolution," White House spokesman Jay Carney told the daily press briefing. "And as I've said in the past, we support that and would welcome passage of it by the Senate, and if it were taken up in the House, by the House as well."

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House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, threatened to pull funding for the operation after the White House submitted paperwork saying the action was not subject to the War Powers Resolution. The 90-day window provided by the War Powers Resolution for action by the president without congressional approval expires Sunday.

Kerry, D-Mass., said on the Senate floor the resolution sends a message to Libyan officials that "they cannot automatically assume they can resort to large-scale violence to put down legitimate demands for reform without consequences."

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"This is not a blank check for the president," Kerry added. "This resolution authorizes the limited use of American forces in a supporting role."

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McCain, R-Ariz., criticized the House for threatening to yank funding. He said lawmakers should look beyond the legalities and consider the humanitarian aspects of the mission.

"I believe the president did the right thing by intervening to stop a looming humanitarian disaster," McCain said.

Politico reported the resolution is stronger than the sense of the Senate resolution the two lawmakers introduced last month.

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"It is time for the Senate to act. It is time to authorize the president's use of force, whether he thinks he needs it or not. And it is time to send a message to our allies, to [Moammar Gadhafi], and to his opponents in Libya who are fighting for their freedom that there is strong bipartisan support in the Senate, and among the American people, for staying the course in Libya until we succeed," McCain said.

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