President Barack Obama’s foreign policy “A” team — led by Cabinet secretaries Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates — failed to quiet criticism of U.S. military action in Libya Wednesday during a pair of classified briefings on Capitol Hill.How far does party loyalty go? Congressional Democrats, especially those on committees that are in place to specifically be engaged in situations like this are getting the toilet paper treatment and while some may bristle, all of them should be up in arms over this. Here is a contrast in views from two different Democrat Representatives.
More than anything, the meetings served to underscore how little influence Congress has in shaping the war.
Lawmakers said they weren’t told much by Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that they couldn’t read in the newspaper or see on television.
They said one dynamic was very clear: The administration doesn’t much care what Congress thinks about the actions it’s taken so far.
Challenged on whether Obama overstepped his constitutional authority in attacking Libya without congressional approval, Clinton told lawmakers that White House lawyers were OK with it and that Obama has no plans to seek an endorsement from Congress, attendees told POLITICO.
And, as if to add insult to injury, news broke during the House briefing that Obama had already signed an order authorizing covert action in support of the rebels. When asked about it after the first briefing, House members were unaware the president had taken that action.
“I have no knowledge of what he signed,” said Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“If they didn’t need congressional authorization here in these circumstances, can you tell me under what circumstances you’d ever need congressional authorization if we’re going into a war? Nobody answered [that] question,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). “The administration and its lawyers believed they had the authority under the War Powers Act.”Nadler disagrees with the administration but the degree to which he's willing to go to the mat over it is in doubt based on those words. Conversely, Cardoza appears perfectly willing to play partisan politics despite the body he belongs to receiving a slap to the face.
To be sure, the administration has its unabashed supporters in this operation.
“The president has acted appropriately to date,” said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.). “Don’t underestimate the amount of political opportunism around here on both sides,” he said of the president’s critics.
h/t Hot Air