Boehner, GOP want Obama to consult with Congress on Libya

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2011.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
John Boehner
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), along with other top Republicans, are warning President Obama to consult more with Congress before stepping up military action in Libya.

In a statement released Sunday, Boehner said the United States has a "moral obligation to stand with those who seek freedom from oppression and self-government for their people."

However, Boehner added, "The President is the commander-in-chief, but the Administration has a responsibility to define for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is, better explain what America's role is in achieving that mission, and make clear how it will be accomplished. Before any further military commitments are made, the Administration must do a better job of communicating to the American people and to Congress about our mission in Libya and how it will be achieved."

The United States over the weekend led an international coalition in successful air attacks that hobbled Libyan leader Muammar

Qaddafi's air defenses. The attacks will make it easier for the U.S.'s allies to police the no-fly zone over Libya, where Qaddafi has violently tried to quell anti-government rebels. The U.N. resolution approving the no-fly zone also approved "all necessary measures" to prevent attacks on civilians.

Responding to Boehner's call for more communication from the White House, national security adviser Tom Donilon said Sunday, "I think that's a fair request of the administration, frankly, and we are doing that."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Armed Services Committee, echoed Boehner's concern about whether the administration will consult with Congress before taking more action in Libya.

"On Libya, is Congress going to assert it's constitutional role or be a potted plant?" the senator tweeted Sunday night.

Additionally, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Obama needs to tell the American public "to what extent military force will be used and for how long," the Associated Press reports.

On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Sen. Richard Lugar (Ind.), the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, also said Congress should be consulted "if we're going to war with Libya."

"We are not declaring war at this point," he told host Bob Schieffer. "We are a part, as the admiral has said, of a coalition. We've already fired 110 missiles, tomahawks at Libya, and had some aircraft support. But my point this week publicly has been that if we're going to war with Libya we ought to have a declaration of war by the Congress."

"We really have not discovered who it is in Libya that we are trying to support," Lugar continued. "Obviously the people that are against Qaddafi - but who?"