House Bravely Takes No Action at All on Libya

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The headline on this New York Times item is "House Sends Obama Message With Libya Votes." That message: "we are completely ineffectual blowhards."

First, the House failed to pass Joint Resolution 68, which would have authorized the use of armed force in Libya for up to one year, but no ground troops, except that ground troops could be used in limited circumstances like rescuing diplomats. That is, the House took up, but could not pass, a resolution that would have pretended to give the President general authority to do something he started doing three months ago, and specific authority to do something that everybody agrees he could do without asking.

Second, the House also failed to pass H.R. 2278, which would have cut off funds for the use of armed force in Libya, again except for things like search and rescue operations.

So, the bottom line is that the U.S. House of Representatives wouldn't authorize the war in Libya, but also wouldn't not authorize it. I think the message is clear, don't you? I also think the Senate is likely to send the same one, if it gets around to voting on its version of this.

To be fair, Congress may have more important things on the agenda, like not agreeing to do anything about the deficit. So maybe they just wanted to hurry and not do this in order to clear the decks for not doing that.