The House of Representatives Friday sent President Barack Obama a strong, bipartisan message that it's growing frustrated and impatient with the U.S. military mission in Libya.
The House shot down an effort to give congressional consent for the three-month-old effort, a clear rebuke to Obama. Just 8 Republicans -- including Miami's David Rivera -- and 115 Democrats -- voted to give Obama approval.
Rivera said he voted "to send a clear message that I support our troops as they carry out this mission. Irrespective of where we stand in the debate on the overall Libya effort or the War Powers Act, I am not willing to support any action that may demoralize or undermine our troops while they are in harms way. Nor am I willing to provide encouragement to a ruthless and murderous dictator."
The House didn't take the extra step of denying funding for the mission. A bid led by Palm Beach Republican Rep. Tom Rooney to cut off money for all but search and rescue, intelligence, aerial refueling and non-combat operations got bipartisan support, but lost on a 238 to 180 vote.
The three-month campaign in Libya has created a strange bedfellows coalition of liberal anti-war Democrats and some Republicans upset about the administration's lack of notice to Congress and the war's cost. On the other side are Democrats reluctant to vote against Obama and some Republicans who fear that such votes could undermine the U.S. mission. (They include Sen. Marco Rubio who editorialized in the Wall Street Journal against restricting the military campaign against Libya.
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., the chief sponsor of a measure to authorize the mission for a year, argued that his plan gave Congress an important voice in the debate.
"If I had my way, we wouldn’t be in Libya at all. But I don’t have my way, and here we are, and the solution now is not to cut off all funding and suddenly walk out," he said. "We have a responsibility to our allies."