Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin is one of 10 senators who signed on to a bipartisan resolution introduced Tuesday that would authorize the U.S. to continue military operations in Libya for one year – even as the Obama administration has maintained it does not need that authorization.
"President Obama made the right decision when he engaged U.S. forces in the international effort to protect innocent civilians from being slaughtered by Qaddafi's forces," the Maryland Democrat said in a statement. "But the mission cannot go on indefinitely."
The proposal, which was introduced by Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. John Kerry, is the latest effort by restive lawmakers who are concerned about President Barack Obama's decision to not seek congressional approval for the Libya operation. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are considering a resolution that would end funding for the effort.
Other sponsors of the Senate resolution include Democrats Carl Levin of Michigan, Richard Durbin of Illinois and Dianne Feinstein of California. Republicans include Jon Kyl of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Roy Blunt of Missouri. Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, of Connecticut, is also a sponsor.
Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it was important to him that the authorization limit the time and scope of the operation, specifically prohibiting the use of any U.S. ground troops. The White House has vowed to not use ground troops.
In fact, the lack of "boots on the ground" is a key justification the White House has used to argue that it does not need authorization from Congress under the Constitution or the 1973 War Powers Resolution for the action in Libya. In a report to Congress last week, the White House said the limited scope of the operation meant the War Powers Resolution does not apply.
The Vietnam-era war-powers resolution is interpreted as allowing a president to initiate military action but requires the military to pull out after 90 days unless Congress approves the action.