Congressional Insiders Divided On Fate of Libya Operations Funding
Democratic and Republican Members of Congress differ on how likely Congress is to cut off funding for U.S. military operations in Libya according to this week's National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll. Democrats overwhelmingly believe Congress won't block the funds while a slim majority of Republicans think it will.
|Do you think that Congress will cut off funds for U.S. military operations in Libya?|
While House Speaker John Boehner has been skeptical of the Obama administration's assertion that U.S. armed forces aren't involved in the kind of hostilities in Libya that could trigger the War Powers Act and other House Republicans have voiced other concerns over the operations, Democratic Congressional Insiders doubted that he Democratic-controlled Senate would restrict funding.
"House may pass it by combining Constitutionalists with anti-Obamists," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. "Senate will not follow suit." Added another, "I'm not sure that we'll even vote on it this year in the Senate."
Other Democrats thought Congress was reluctant to take such a dramatic step on the prerogatives of the Commander-in-Chief. "Regardless of your opinion on the military action in Libya and how the President has handled it, most Members do not vote to cut funding that could impact the safety of our nation's forces," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. "Republican hawks will never really permit this, but will posture," said another. "At the end of the day, Congress hates Qaddafi more than the President," added a third.
But Republicans were much more conflicted and doubtful of the policy. "There will be deference to the commander-in-chief as to timing, but ultimately the funds will end if the White House doesn't act first," said one GOP Congressional Insider.
"We cannot continue to send troops into missions that do not have defined objectives and exit strategies," said one Republican. "Congress should have stood up to the President right from the start of this misadventure; we were not attacked and have no vital U.S. interest, time for us to completely reassess NATO."
Republicans who think that the funds won't be cut off primarily said the Senate would probably balk at the idea. "Ultimately there isn't the political will in the U.S. Senate to effectively defund military operations in Libya," said one GOP Congressional Insider. "While there is significant momentum for such action in the House, it remains to be seen whether the Senate would take steps to cut off funding."
The National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll is a regular anonymous survey of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress.