House Republicans stall vote on Libya resolution

Girls pose for a photograph next to a tank used by other children to play during an anti-Moammar Gadhafi march in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday, May 3, 2011.
AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

House Republicans are interested in admonishing the Obama administration for its handling of military operations in Libya -- but they're not interested in going so far as stopping U.S. participation in the war.

Republican leadership today postponed consideration of a resolution from liberal Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, which would require President Obama to remove armed forces from Libya.

Seeking to pass a resolution that expresses unhappiness with Mr. Obama's unilateral actions in Libya -- without calling for the removal of troops -- Republicans could bring an alternative bill to the floor Friday, CBS News Senior Political Producer Jill Jackson reports. A GOP leadership aide told Jackson House Republicans will hold special conference on Thursday to discuss their options -- including the consideration of Kucinich's resolution.

In a statement today, Kucinich suggested the vote was stalled because it would have passed.

"It's not surprising that some are now wondering if a preliminary vote count on my resolution came out in favor of defending the Constitution," he said. He accused House leadership and the administration stalling the vote "to buy even more time to shore up support for the War in Libya."

House leadership, Kucinich said, told him the vote was postponed "in an effort to compel more information and consultation" from the Administration.

The U.S. has played an integral role in the military operations in Libya, which are now led by NATO. While there are no U.S. ground forces in Libya, Mr. Obama recently said the U.S. is "committed to seeing the job through." It's unclear, however, what exactly that means, since the original United Nations mandate said the mission in Libya is to keep civilians safe. That has been difficult to achieve, given Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi's grip on power there. Mr. Obama said the NATO mission will compel him to step down.

Kucinich has maintained that the U.S. military involvement in Libya is unconstitutional, since only Congress has the power to declare war. Additionally, the War Powers Act requires the president to seek authorization from Congress within 60 days of beginning military action.

"The Administration wants to postpone and avoid this deliberation; however Congress cannot maintain its position as a co-equal branch of government if it willingly forfeits the decision-making on matters of war and peace," Kucinich said today.