The State Column
Ron Paul: Libya Funding Bill Must Be ‘Straight and Clean’
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, came down hard today against a House bill (HR 2278) that would have limited the use of funds for the U.S.’s involvement in the Libya War. The House also rejected the limited funding bill for the Libya War, while also striking down a resolution that would have authorized the limited use of U.S. Armed Forces in Libya.
Today, Paul told his colleagues that the limited funding bill was not what it appeared to be. Paul argued that the Libya bill “masquerades as a limitation of funds for the president’s war on Libya but is in fact an authorization for that very war.” The purpose of the Libya bill was to “limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya.”
Paul pointed out that if HR 2278 passes, “the president would be authorized to use US Armed Forces to engage in search and rescue; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; aerial refueling; and operational planning against Libya.” As of this time, without a declaration of war or congressional authorization, the president doesn’t have the authority to conduct these activities.
Paul also added that rejecting the Libya bill isn’t “necessary to prohibit the use of funds for US military attacks on Libya because those funds are already prohibited by the Constitution.” However, Paul acknowledged that, if given the opportunity, he would “support any straight and clean prohibition of funds.”
Earlier this week, Paul criticized President Obama’s explanation for the Libya War in a post titled “Strange Definitions of War and Peace.” Paul said that Obama’s reasoning for not seeking congressional approval before using the U.S. military in Libya was “laughable if not so horrific.”
Paul has always been candid about his opinion on the Libya War. On June 6, in a post titled “Holding the President Accountable on Libya,” Paul argued that “the president’s attack on Libya was unconstitutional and thus unlawful.” In the same column, Paul also said that “we are broke, and the American people know it. They expect Congress to focus on fixing America’s economic problems, rather than rubber stamping yet another open-ended military intervention in Libya.” In the same column, Paul also said that “the president’s attack on Libya was unconstitutional and thus unlawful. This policy must be reversed.” So far, Paul has done everything in his power to reverse the policy.
The White House conveyed Obama’s disappointment that HR 2278 failed to pass, saying “now is not the time to send the kind of mixed message that it sends when we are working with our allies to achieve the goals that we believe that are widely shared in Congress.”