According to some members of Congress, the president has acted in defiance of the War Powers Act of 1973. The law gives the president a 60-day window to use military force overseas before requiring congressional authorization. That deadline passed on May 20, but the administration has continued its military operations in the NATO mission.
Other members of Congress from both parties have claimed that what the president has said so far is not sufficient. Or as Boehner’s resolution put it, the justifications put forth so far are not “compelling” enough to gain authorization.
According to a diplomat from a NATO member country, U.S. allies have hoped the United States would take a more offensive role. So, while they don’t think that Congress asking for more clarification is a bad thing, allies worry about any sort of sign that legislators would want to pull back their current level of involvement. “Anything that looks like a pressure for the United States to reduce its commitment could be harmful to the alliance, based on the idea that the U.S. is a key player,” the diplomat says. “Anything that gives the impression that the U.S. could be less committed to the mission in Libya is obviously–in terms of the cohesion of the alliance in Libya–it’s not a position that sends the right message.”