Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make the president’s case for the U.S. mission in Libya directly to Democrats Thursday afternoon as the Obama administration works to save itself from the political damage if it were to lose twin votes
on the conflict on the House floor Friday.
The White House requested an audience for Clinton, the nation’s top diplomat, with the full Democratic Caucus
, which includes a large contingent of liberals upset about the Libya conflict.
As Clinton was scheduled to begin her talk just after noon, the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus issued a statement urging Democrats to vote to block funding for the mission
“The U.S. has been engaged in hostilities for over 90 days without congressional approval, which undermines not only the powers of the legislative branch but also the legal checks and balances
put in place nearly 40 years ago to avoid abuse by any single branch of government,” wrote Reps. Raul Grijalva, Lynn Woolsey
, Michael Honda and Barbara Lee. “We call on our colleagues in Congress to exercise their legitimate authority and oversight and immediately block any funding for this war.”
Their caucus of liberals represents the largest subset of the Democratic Party in the House.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has scheduled votes on whether to authorize the use of force in Libya — a resolution that is likely to fail — as well as a bill that would prohibit the use of government funds for hostilities.
Many House Democrats are wary of engaging in a third front with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continuing to drain American resources. Some are simply upset with Obama for failing to seek congressional approval for the mission and then announcing that he need not comply with the War Powers Act because American involvement in Libya doesn’t constitute “hostilities.”
Republicans share many of the same sentiments about the Libya mission and Obama’s attitude toward Congress. Throw in the basic partisan clash between a House led by Republicans and a White House occupied by a Democrat and there’s little support for Obama’s policy in GOP circles.