Second-guessing on both sides of the aisle of President Barack Obama’s decision to use military force in Libya might be creating some strange bedfellows in Congress.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, last night led four colleagues – Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma; Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles; and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. – in sending a letter urging House Speaker John Boehner, D-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to hold a debate and floor vote on the President’s authority to continue using military force in Libya.
The lawmakers noted the Constitution invests Congress with the responsibility to declare war, and that Congress has a responsibility to oversee and provide for such commitments.
“While we firmly believe that a robust debate and up-or-down floor vote should have occurred in advance of U.S. military action in Libya, it is without question that such measures are still urgently required,” they wrote. “Beyond defending Congressional authority in these matters, these deliberations are essential to ensuring that we as a country fully debate and understand the strategic goals, costs, and long-term consequences of military action in Libya.”
They went on to note that the Defense Department estimated the first week’s cost of our military involvement in Libya at $600 million, with ongoing costs of as much as $100 million per week. “At a time of severe economic distress here at home, as well as in recognition of the continued strain on our military service members already engaged in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these concerns are especially worthy of congressional deliberation,” they wrote.