Washington —Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Bob Corker (R-TN) today introduced a joint resolution requiring the Administration to provide a detailed justification of U.S. operations in Libya and prohibiting the deployment of U.S. troops on the ground there. It further calls on the President to request authorization for the continuation of U.S. involvement in NATO activities and states that Congress should fully debate such a request expediently. Nearly 90 days after the initiation of force in Libya, such debate has not occurred.
The bipartisan resolution states, “The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya.” It calls for an unclassified report to provide essential information to Congress and the American public to evaluate U.S. involvement in Libya and appropriately debate it.
“When we examine the conditions under which the President ordered our military into action in Libya, we are faced with the prospect of a very troubling historical precedent that has the potential to haunt us for decades,” said Senator Webb. “The issue for us to consider is whether a President—any President—can unilaterally begin, and continue, a military campaign for reasons that he alone defines as meeting the demanding standards worthy of risking American lives and expending billions of dollars of our taxpayers’ money. It is important for Congress to step in and clearly define the boundaries of our involvement.”
“It has now been more than 80 days since the United States first launched military action in Libya in what was supposed to be only a very limited operation, but neither the Congress nor the American people have any clearer view of the administration’s stated mission or end game for our military involvement in Libya. Having been denied answers, repeatedly, to these fundamental questions or even a comprehensive debate to consider the merits of U.S. involvement in such an engagement, it’s long past time to set a final deadline to get the information every man and woman who puts on a uniform and every taxpayer who funds the operation deserves,” Senator Corker said.
The joint resolution, which would have the force of law, requires the Administration to publicly answer a detailed series of questions about the Libya operation within 14 days of enactment (see full text below). Parts of the resolution mirror bills passed in the House of Representatives.
Full text of S.J.Res. 18:
Title: Prohibiting the deployment, establishment, or maintenance of a presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya, and for other purposes.
Whereas the President has not sought, and Congress has not provided, authorization for the introduction or continued involvement of the United States Armed Forces in Libya; and
Whereas Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the United States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. STATEMENTS OF POLICY.
Congress makes the following statements of policy:
(1) The United States Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the United States.
(2) The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon United States national security interests for current United States military activities regarding Libya.
(3) The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of United States Government officials (including diplomatic representatives) or to rescuing members of the United States Armed Forces from imminent danger.
SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON UNITED STATES GROUND COMBAT PRESENCE IN LIBYA.
No funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense may be obligated or expended for the purpose of—
(1) deploying units or members of the United States Armed Forces on to the ground of Libya for the purposes of engaging in ground combat operations, unless the purpose of such deployment is limited solely to rescuing members of the United States Armed Forces from imminent danger;
(2) awarding a contract to a private security contractor to conduct any activity on the ground of Libya; or
(3) otherwise establishing or maintaining any presence of units or members of the United States Armed Forces or private security contractors on the ground of Libya, unless the purpose of such presence is limited to the immediate personal defense of United States Government officials (including diplomatic representatives) or to rescuing members of the United States Armed Forces from imminent danger.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that—
(1) the President should request authorization from Congress for the continuation of United States involvement in ongoing NATO activities in Libya; and
(2) Congress should fully debate and consider such request in an expeditious manner.
SEC. 4. TRANSMITTAL OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH INFORMATION RELATING TO OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN AND OPERATION UNIFIED PROTECTOR.
Not later than 14 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General shall each transmit to Congress a copy of any official document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication in the possession of such official that was created on or after February 15, 2011, and refers or relates to—
(1) consultation or communication with Congress regarding the employment or deployment of the United States Armed Forces for Operation Odyssey Dawn or NATO Operation Unified Protector; or
(2) the War Powers Resolution and Operation Odyssey Dawn or Operation Unified Protector.
SEC. 5. REPORT TO CONGRESS.
(a) Report Required.—Not later than 14 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, the President shall submit to Congress a report describing in detail United States security interests and objectives, and the activities of United States Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:
(1) The President’s justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya.
(2) United States political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them.
(3) Changes in United States political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
(4) Differences between United States political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities.
(5) The specific commitments by the United States to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya.
(6) The anticipated scope and duration of continued United States military involvement in support of NATO activities regarding Libya.
(7) The costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011.
(8) The total projected costs of United States military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya.
(9) The impact on United States activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(10) The role of the United States in the establishment of a political structure to succeed the current Libyan regime.
(11) An assessment of the current military capacity of opposition forces in Libya.
(12) An assessment of the ability of opposition forces in Libya to establish effective military and political control of Libya and a practicable timetable for accomplishing these objectives.
(13) An assessment of the consequences of a cessation of United States military activities on the viability of continued NATO operations regarding Libya and on the continued viability of groups opposing the Libyan regime.
(14) The composition and political agenda of the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) and its representation of the views of the Libyan people as a whole.
(15) The criteria to be used to determine United States recognition of the ITNC as the representative of the Libyan people, including the role of current and former members of the existing regime.
(16) Financial resources currently available to opposition groups and United States plans to facilitate their access to seized assets of the Libyan regime and proceeds from the sale of Libyan petroleum.
(17) The relationship between the ITNC and the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests.
(18) Weapons acquired for use, and operations initiated, in Libya by the Muslim Brotherhood, the members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and any other group that has promoted an agenda that would negatively impact United States interests.
(19) The status of the 20,000 MANPADS cited by the Commander of the United States Africa Command, as well as Libya’s SCUD–Bs and chemical munitions, including mustard gas.
(20) Material, communication, coordination, financing and other forms of support between and among al-Qaeda operatives, its affiliates, and supporters in Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa.
(21) Contributions by Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other regional states in support of NATO activities in Libya.
(b) Form.—The report required by this section shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.