A group of both liberals and conservatives — defying the leaders of both parties — threw their support behind a bill to pull the U.S. military out of the Libya operation. That prospect led GOP leaders to shelve the bill before it came to a vote.
That episode signaled how abruptly the politics of U.S. warmaking have changed, as the intervention in Libya follows a bloody, weary decade in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Now, a Democratic president has asked the country to support a new military action and missed a legal deadline that required him to get Congress’s authorization.
In response, an antiwar movement has appeared in an unlikely place: a House dominated by the Republican right.
“We are in control in the House, and we want something on the floor,” said Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), one of a number of conservatives who called Wednesday for a showdown with Obama. “Put a resolution up, and let us express . . . to the president that ‘you no longer have the authority of this Congress to conduct military operations in that country.’ ”
Since the beginning of the Libyan operation, congressional leaders have been quietly supportive of Obama — but mostly just quiet. In the Senate, a resolution in support of the president is still waiting for a vote.
In the House, GOP leaders had said little on the subject, even after Obama missed a deadline set in the 1973 War Powers Resolution. That law required him to obtain congressional permission within 60 days, a deadline that passed last month.
“His intention is not to undermine the commander in chief, at a time when we have troops in harm’s way,” Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said Wednesday.
And Boehner blocks a vote: