Lee urges Boehner to hold floor vote on Libya

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.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Is there no end to Bobbie Lee’s insanity?

    Of course in Berkeley this is called progressive.

  • publius

    Where is the anti-war George Miller? I thought for sure he would be up in arms over this blatant war for oil!

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    The People’s Commissars have spoken. I suggest Prof. Lee lead a peace delegation (her co-signers) to Tripoli and remain there until the crisis is peacefully resolved. Dr Grijalva will propose a tourist boycott of the USA until it ceases its war-mongering.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    All Barabara Lee is asking is that we follow the US Constitution, just as the Tea Party GOP feels we should follow the 2nd and 4th Amendments. Congress followed the Constitution when we invaded Iraq. They just did it late at night when no one was watching.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    The Tea Party also feels strongly about the Third Amendment, as one presumes B. Lee, PhD., does.

  • For Liberty

    A thought about this issue shared from Joel Skousen:
    “This week’s artful speech by Obama conjured up every possible pretext and argument to both downplay and justify the latest US intervention into another country’s internal affairs. While pro-government pundits were quick to praise and critics were temporarily stunned by Obama’s assurance that this was neither aggression nor a war, the facts on the ground are quickly proving him a liar. While Obama assured the nation that no US troops are or will be involved, the Second Marine Division was given orders to ship out for Libya.”

  • John W

    Re: #5

    Glad to hear the Tea Party feels strongly about the Third Amendment, but what does it have to do with Libya or Barbara Lee calling for a floor debate and vote?

    Third Amendment:

    “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

  • Josh Richman

    #6: Where’d you hear the entire Second Marine Division was shipping out for Libya? That would be something like 20,000 Marines. Some Marines are already involved in the operation – aboard one or more of the Navy carriers out there, as they so often are – but to my knowledge, besides a small team sent to secure one of the pilots who lost his plane, not a one of them have set foot on Libyan soil.

  • John W

    Re: #8

    Yeah, I had the same question. All I could find were pretty fringy blogs, such as survivalist right winger Joel Kousen’s. I think the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is the group aboard the carriers. I’m not sure, but they may be part of the Second Marine Division. Both are out of Camp Lejeune. In any event, my understanding is they are there for support — Harrier jets, the team sent in the get the downed pilot etc. That’s different from the Marines storming ashore guns ablaze. But you never know. After all, the Marine Corps Hymn says “…from the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli…” It’s no secret we have CIA on the ground to get intel on the rebels (a very good idea in my opinion), but apparently spooks don’t count as “troops” or “boots on the ground.”

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    I don’t give a rat’s tush if the people of Libya don’t enjoy U.S.-style civil liberties. But Muammar, old pal, it’s time to fold up your tents and slip silently away.

  • John W

    Re: #10

    Can’t somebody slip the good colonel an exploding cigar or something?

  • Elwood

    Or perhaps some good old Castro mustache remover?