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Senators Back 'Limited' U.S. Involvement In Libya

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Brendan Smialowski
Getty Images
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

As we reported Friday, the military operation in Libya reached a crucial deadline: According to the War Powers Resolution of 1973, after 60 days, President Barack Obama's administration needed to either get Congressional approval for the mission or stop all involvement within 30 days.

Today, days after that deadline expired, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bipartisan resolution that supports "the limited use of military force by the United States in Libya as part of the NATO mission to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011)."

"I support President Obama's decision to commit U.S. forces to the mission in Libya, and I hope this resolution will elicit a broad statement of bipartisan support among my Senate colleagues for our use of force in Libya," McCain said in a statement.

The AP reports:

The non-binding measure calls on Obama to submit to Congress a description of U.S. policy objectives before and after Moammar Gadhafi. The resolution also asks Obama to regularly consult with Congress.

CNN reports that the resolution does not explicitly give the president authorization for the military action in Libya. They add:

... Late Friday, Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders endorsing the Libya resolution Kerry and McCain had been working on as something he would welcome.

"It has always been my view that it is better to take military action, even in limited actions such as this, with congressional engagement, consultation, and support," wrote the president late Friday.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.