The Constitution gives the authority to declare war to the Congress. But, recognizing the need of Presidents to act in certain cases, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which allows a President to commit U.S. forces to actions so long as he notifies Congress within 48 hours. It also forbids those forces from remaining more than 60 days without an authorization from Congress or a declaration of war.
President Obama committed U.S. forces to actions in Libya, and did notify Congress within the 48-hour limit, but has failed to obtain authorization from Congress as required.
Friday, a vote was held on House Resolution 292:
Declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya, and for other purposes.
It passed 268-145 with 45 Democrats voting in favor and 10 Republicans voting against. Rep. Maxine Waters voted present. Some Republicans who voted against this measure voted, instead, for Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich's stronger measure which would have directed the President to remove all troops from Libya within 15 days of passage.
That measure, House Continuing Resolution 51 (titled below) failed 148-265 with 87 Republicans voting in favor.
Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya.
The other vote, on H. Res. 294, also passed 257-156.
Providing for consideration of H.Res. 292 declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of U.S. Armed Forces in Libya, and for consideration of H.Con.Res. 51 directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the U.S. Armed Forces from Libya.
And how did our representative vote on these critical measures to enforce the law and uphold the Constitution?
She was no-vote on all three items because she was in Toledo eating hot dogs with President Obama - and touting the 'success' of the auto bailout.
It is interesting to note that when President George W. Bush asked for authorization from Congress for the actions in Iraq, House Joint Resolution 114, she managed to be present to vote no.
While some will say that it is important for our local representative to be present when the President is in her district, that seems to only apply when the president is of the same party as the representative. So that is a political consideration, not one related to the actual job of being a representative of a district.
I'm of the opinion that casting votes is the only job for which a representative is elected and 'skipping' a vote, especially on such critical issues as compliance with the Constitution, is a dereliction of that duty.
So her constituents are left with no idea of her position on upholding the Constitution and whether or not she supports forcing the present to comply with the law.
Sadly, too many of them don't care and will continue to support her regardless.