Reporting from Washington— The House of Representatives refused to either endorse or curtail U.S. involvement in Libya, delivering a mixed message Friday that highlighted deep divisions surrounding the issue.
By an overwhelming margin, lawmakers refused to sanction U.S. participation in a NATO campaign of airstrikes in the North African country, a vote that amounted to a rare, bipartisan rebuke of a president's foreign policy during an active military conflict.
Minutes later, however, a Republican-led effort to try to curb financial support for U.S. involvement also failed. A majority of Democrats and a group of Republicans rejected the bill to cut funding for combat activities — surprising GOP leaders, who tailored the bill at the last minute to suit the rank and file.
Both measures were largely symbolic. The first measure, which would have authorized U.S. involvement, was not expected to pass the Republican-led House, where fiscal conservatives and "tea party" freshmen have expressed increased skepticism about stretching the military thin.
The second bill, to cut off funding, had virtually no chance of passing the Senate, much less garnering a presidential signature.