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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid