Republican senators press president on War Powers deadline
|CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash|
Washington (CNN) – As the U.S. military campaign in Libya approaches the 60-day mark this Friday, six Republican senators wrote President Obama asking if he will comply with the War Powers Act, which says Congress must authorize action that lasts more than 60 days."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. Last week some in your Administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continue indefinitely, while others said you would act in a manner consistent with the War Powers Resolution. Therefore, we are writing to ask whether you intend to comply with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution. We await your response," wrote the GOP senators Wednesday.
The letter was signed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
The GOP senators said they believe the president already violated part of the War Powers Act – which says the president's constitutional powers allow him to only deploy troops into "hostilities" with a declaration of war, specific authorization from Congress or a national emergency caused by an attack on the U.S.
But the president did follow the provision in the 1973 law requiring him to provide information to Congress about committing U.S. forces. Now the question is whether he will abide by the part of the War Powers Act which says he must get Congressional permission within 60 days.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday that he is "talking to the administration" about what exactly Congress and the White House might do to abide by that looming 60-day deadline Friday with regard to Libya.
"We want to make sure we're not stretching anything inappropriate. So we're looking at some language," Kerry said as he entered a weekly policy lunch in the Capitol with Democratic senators. "We're really looking at it very seriously to keep everyone on the same page."
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