House Blocks Vote on Kucinich Libya Bill Over Fears It Might Pass
House Republicans postponed a Wednesday vote on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's resolution to end U.S. involvement in the bombing of Libya because they were afraid it would pass. Speaker John Boehner thinks the legislation--which would take effect 15 days after it's adopted--would hurt the NATO mission to topple Muammar Qaddafi, Politico's John Bresnahan and Jonathan Allen report. Republican Dan Burton, a co-sponsor of the resolution, is urging an up-or-down vote on the resolution--sort of like Tuesday's vote on raising the debt limit, which GOP leaders held a vote on only because they were sure it would fail. (Likewise, last week Senate Democrats forced moderate Republican senators to vote on Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare overhaul just to force moderate senators to vote on it. It failed, as expected.)
GOP leaders' official reason for pulling the measure is that they need to "compel more information and consultation" from the Obama administration. But with the Libya bombing dragging on for three months--and just extended for three more--a bipartisan group of legislators is growing tired of the intervention. The House GOP is working on alternatives to voting on the legislation, like maybe having the armed services committee write back-up proposals. But they're sort of in a bind, Politico reports:
Because the Kucinich proposal relates to the 1973 War Powers Act, it is considered privileged under House rules, meaning that Kucinich could force a floor vote even if Democratic and Republican leaders are opposed to doing so. The resolution 'ripens' next week, making it possible for Kucinich to bring about a vote when Congress returns from next week's recess.
The House GOP will have a special meeting Thursday to figure out what to do next, the Associated Press reports. One option is rescheduling the vote for sometime in the future, presumably when it looks more likely to be fail.