Under the War Powers Act, the president can commit troops to a military operation for 60 days before getting congressional approval. Next week, that 60 days is up for the war in Libya. So what happens then?
Doug Mataconis rounds up some reporting on this, and the answer is…..nothing. Apparently no one in Congress really cares, and President Obama, like every president before him, doesn’t recognize the WPA as a legitimate check on his commander-in-chief powers anyway.
Whatever else you can say about Bush’s wars, he did get Congress’s approval for them. Obama isn’t even bothering with that much. Still, it’s hard to come down on him too hard over this. It’s up to Congress to defend its authority in the warmaking arena, and they’re tacitly agreeing that Obama’s actions have been just peachy. If both branches agree on this, then I guess that’s that. The president can deploy troops any time and in any way he wants. I just hope congressional Democrats don’t start whining about this sometime in the future when a Republican president does the same thing.