Why the Libya Resolution Died

The Kerry-McCain resolution is dead, for now. It was set to get a cloture vote today, and senators used some floor time to make their Libya arguments again. Richard Lugar, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations committee who has slowly but surely become a critic of the way the conflict is being handled, gaved a blistering speech about the conduct and goals of the war.

“Let us be clear, we are deliberately trying to overthrow the government of Libya,” said Lugar.* “I continue to be concerned that the conflict in Libya could escalate, and the burden for rebuilding could fall on our country.”

But the resolution was pulled. Too many Republicans objected to having a vote on the matter at all, instead of using time to debate the debt.

“Had the vote [scheduled] at 5 p.m. been taken, there’s no question the majority leader would have been defeated,” said Sen. Roger Wicker. “To me this represents significant legislative victory for those of us who agree with the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that our debt is our most pressing national security concern.”

Bob Corker, who had been an early proponent for bringing the Libya conflict into agreement with the War Powers Act, echoed those remarks. The resolution, as it was set up, was pointless.

“The House had already voted this down,” he said. “Nothing was going to change.”  

*I originally referred here to Bob Corker by mistake.