Obama Admin. Defends Legality of Libya Action

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President Obama is defending the legality of America's mission in Libya after a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed a lawsuit against the administration Wednesday.

The group charged the White House ordered U.S. airstrikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces nearly three months ago without authorization from the U.S. Congress.

"We are intending through our presence and through this lawsuit, to correct an imbalance which exists today -- to correct a deficiency in the separation of powers," Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said.

In a 32-page report on the three-month mission sent to Congress on Wednesday, the White House argues that U.S. military action in Libya does not require congressional authorization because American forces are playing a support role as a part of the NATO-led bombing mission and there are no troops on the ground.

The report also pointed out that American forces are not facing the "hostilities" that would require the president to seek congressional approval under the War Powers Resolution.

That 1973 law prohibits the military from being involved in actions for more than 60 days without congressional authorization, plus a 30-day extension.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, warned Obama this week that the 90-day window runs out Sunday.

The report to Congress was sent by the White House in response to a nonbinding House resolution passed this month that chastised the president for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for U.S. involvement in Libya.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told the Associated Press he was amazed that the administration did not believe U.S. forces were facing "hostilities" in Libya, saying generals have told lawmakers otherwise in classified briefings.

"The way the administration handled this entire affair left people on both sides of the aisle very perplexed," said Corker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president expects Congress to support the Libya campaign as it continues.

With Gadhafi under pressure to leave power, he said now is not the time to send "mixed messages" about U.S. commitment to the campaign.

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