(H. J. Res. 68, H.R. 2278) Legislation that would authorize continued U.S. military operations in Libya, as well as a separate bill that would allow federal funds to be used only for limited purposes in Libya, including search and rescue missions, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and aerial refueling (in-flight refueling for military aircraft) – On the resolution providing a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to both bills
This was a vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and prohibiting amendments to two separate bills relating to U.S. military operations in Libya.
The first Libya measure would authorize the president to continue U.S. military operations in Libya for one year. Specifically, this measure authorized the president “to continue the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in Libya, in support of United States national security policy interests…” The measure did not, however, define “limited use.” The second bill relating to Libya would allow federal funds to be used only for limited purposes in Libya, including search and rescue missions, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and aerial refueling (in-flight refueling for military aircraft).
Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) urged support for the resolution allowing the House to debate and vote on both Libya measures: “On June 3 of this year by a vote of 268-145 the House of Representatives passed a resolution asking the President to make clear what his intentions are in Libya, asking the President to come and consult with Congress, to get Congress' permission, to seek our authority to prosecute those hostilities in Libya. We have received some information from the White House since then. We have gotten a letter from the White House since then. We even have classified documents since then. But what we have not had since then, Mr. Speaker, is an opportunity for the American people to make their voice heard on this important issue, because, after all, this isn't an issue for Congress, because as a Congressman, it is not about my voice. It is about the voice of the 911,000 people back home that I represent that I bring here to Congress, and those people's voices have yet to be heard on this Libya issue.”
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) opposed this resolution (also known as a “rule”), arguing that it provided for inadequate debate and deliberation on a matter of war and peace: “We now stand on the House floor being asked to vote for a closed rule [a resolution that prohibits amendments from being offered to bills]. We will then be asked to consider two resolutions of historic proportions with no ability to shape and adjust the measures to reflect the true will of the House….I regret the shameful way this important debate has been rushed through Congress, and I apologize to future generations who will look back on the work that we're doing today. Quite simply, the legislative process matters. Historians, scholars, and yes, future members of Congress will look back on our actions today to see how their forebearers shaped the fate of this country.”
[On March 19, 2011, the U.S. joined an international coalition (that included France, the United Kingdom, and Spain) to intervene in Libya’s civil war. This coalition aided rebels who had staged an uprising against the country’s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya since 1969 and whose regime was notorious for human rights violations. On April 4, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO—an international coalition of 28 member countries) assumed operational control of the military mission in Libya.]
The House agreed to this resolution by a vote of 240-167. All 226 Republicans and 14 Democrats voted “yea.” 167 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation that would authorize continued U.S. military operations in Libya, as well as a separate bill that would allow federal funds to be used only for limited purposes in Libya, including search and rescue missions, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and aerial refueling.