Earlier today, The Blaze reported on the bi-partisan lawsuit that congressional members filed this week against the White House. Now, President Barack Obama’s administration is speaking out, claiming that the War Powers Act does not apply to U.S. action in Libya. The New York Times has more:
In a broader package of materials the Obama administration is sending to Congress on Wednesday defending its Libya policy, the White House, for the first time, offers lawmakers and the public an argument for why Mr. Obama has not been violating theï¿½War Powers Resolution since May 20.
On that day, the Vietnam-era lawï¿½s 60-day deadline for terminating unauthorized hostilities appeared to pass. But the White House argued that the activities of United States military forces in Libya do not amount to full-blown ï¿½hostilitiesï¿½ at the level necessary to involve the section of the War Powers Resolution that imposes the deadline.
ï¿½We are acting lawfully,ï¿½ said Harold Koh, the State Department legal adviser, who expanded on the administrationï¿½s reasoning in a joint interview with White House Counsel Robert Bauer.
The administration claims that the U.S. has not been involved in “hostilities” since NATO took the helm on April 7. According to the White House, America is merely providing a “supporting role.” Since troops are not in harm’s way on the ground, they say there is “little risk” posed to U.S. forces. The Times continues:
The administration legal team considered other approaches, including a proposal to stop the use of armed drones after May 20 in order to bolster the case that United States forces were no longer engaged in hostilities. But the White House ultimately decided not to make any changes in the military mission.
The key issue here is the meaning of “hostilities,” as there does not seem to be a clear definition on the books. Furthermore, the administration discusses NATO as though the U.S. is not an integral part of the military alliance. In reality, the country’s relationship in the allegiance means that America is, to a degree, still heading operations in Libya.
Obama’s opinion on this matter will likely be debated by congressional members on both sides of the aisle and judging from today’s lawsuit, there’s a good chance the battle may make its way into the court system.