White House brushes off House Libya resolution

June 6, 2011 - 3:28 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House brushed off congressional demands for a detailed report outlining U.S. objectives in Libya, a move likely to stoke further anger on Capitol Hill over President Barack Obama's decision not to seek lawmakers' consent for the military operation.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that administration officials were already answering questions about Libya in briefings on Capitol Hill. A House resolution calling on Obama to provide more detailed answers was "unhelpful," Carney added, suggesting that the administration has no plans to formally respond within the 14-day window outlined in the measure.

However, the spokesman said the White House could continue to hold regular consultations with Congress on Libya.

"To the extent that within those consultations there are questions asked that we can answer, we will answer," Carney said.

Several House members have expressed their dissatisfaction with those briefings, saying more of them won't suffice.

On Friday, the House passed a non-binding resolution chastising Obama for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for the Libyan mission and demanding a report "describing in detail" the operation's objective, its costs and its impact on the nation's two other wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Forty-five Democrats joined the Republican majority in passing the resolution.

Obama ordered air strikes in March after a U.N. resolution, and consultation with Congress has been limited. The Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war, and the 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to obtain congressional authorization within 60 days of the start of military operations, a deadline that passed last month.

The White House says it believes the Libya campaign is still in compliance with the War Powers Resolution.

The House resolution is unlikely to be taken up by the Senate. White House officials are pushing for passage of a Senate resolution introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona that would express support for the Libya campaign.

However, the ranking Republican senator on Foreign Relations is urging the administration not to take that approach and instead address the concerns raised by the House resolution.

"Because the president has not made his case to Congress, the American people have no clear understanding of the U.S. interests at stake in Libya, how much this will cost and what other priorities will have to be sacrificed," Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana wrote in an editorial for Monday's edition of The Washington Post.

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Julie Pace can be reached at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC . Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.