News / USA

US Senate Postpones Libya Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington (file photo)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington (file photo)
Michael Bowman

The U.S. Senate has postponed voting on a resolution authorizing limited American military involvement in Libya. The move came amid Republican insistence that the chamber focus on a more pressing need: the nation’s impending debt crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cut short what was supposed to be a weeklong recess this week, forcing lawmakers to return to Washington one day after the U.S. Independence Day holiday. Reid said the lengthy recess could not be justified while negotiations remain deadlocked on raising the federal borrowing limit and averting a possible default on America’s $14 trillion national debt.

But the first item of business scheduled by the Democratic majority leader Tuesday was a procedural vote on continued U.S. participation in the NATO-led campaign over Libya.

Republicans strongly objected. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. “Regardless of how one feels about the Libya resolution, that is not what we need to be doing this week. The president [Barack Obama] has not asked for the Libya resolution. It is not something he cares about, apparently. I will tell you one thing we have to do. We have got to fulfill our responsibility in Congress as the people who control the purse [federal spending]," he said.

A fellow-Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, noted that the House of Representatives already voted against authorizing the Libya mission, making Senate action, as he put it, “totally irrelevant”. Corker urged the Senate to focus on America’s debt situation instead. “We are here over the fact that we have huge deficits, and we do not have an agreement to deal with that," he said.

Moments later, Majority Leader Reid canceled the vote on whether to proceed to the Libya resolution. “I’ve spoken with the Republican [minority] leader [Mitch McConnell], and we have agreed, not withstanding the broad support for the Libya resolution, the most important thing for us to focus on this week is the budget," he said.

The resolution would authorize a supporting military role for the United States in Libya for up to a year. It specifies that no U.S. ground forces will be deployed, and that the United States will not bear reconstruction costs in a post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya. The Obama administration has argued that no congressional authorization of the mission is required, but said it would welcome a statement of support from Capitol Hill.

The resolution has been championed by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain. McCain acknowledged the importance of confronting America’s debt situation, but said Libya merits attention, as well. “The Senate does need to have a debate about United States policy and military action in Libya. Whether my colleagues are supportive of what we are doing in Libya or not I think is an issue that needs to be debated on the floor of the Senate," he said.

McCain said congressional upheaval over the Libya resolution could have been avoided if President Barack Obama had sought congressional authorization for the mission months ago.

The resolution would have needed the backing of 60 senators in the 100-member chamber to proceed to a final vote. For now, a vote appears unlikely to be rescheduled before the August 2 deadline for increasing the federal borrowing limit.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More