Top Senate Democrats “on Wednesday backed President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize military action in Libya and predicted the Senate would vote down any effort to end U.S. involvement,” Roll Call reports.
In a conference call with reporters, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (Mich.) and Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) praised Obama’s handling of the situation, including his plan to quickly hand off primary responsibility for imposing a no-fly zone to other nations and his vow not to include ground troops.
“The reports are positive,” Durbin said of the intervention, which began Saturday.
Durbin said international support for the no-fly zone — including backing from the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council — is reminiscent of President George H.W. Bush’s formation of a broad coalition to push Saddam Hussein’s army out of Kuwait in the first Gulf War.
Bush, however, sought and won a vote in Congress prior to launching an invasion of Kuwait. Obama has yet to seek a Congressional vote endorsing his decision to help impose the no-fly zone, which the U.N. Security Council authorized last week. Several Democrats and Republicans have said in recent days that they think Obama’s actions violate the Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to declare wars.
But Levin noted the limited nature of the conflict and the support of the international community, and he said he would expect bipartisan support in the Senate for the Libya mission if the chamber were to vote on it.
The Senators said “they weren’t sure how much the conflict would cost or how it would be paid for.”