By: AFP WRITERS
President Barack Obama "should obtain authorization from Congress before providing further military and financial support to operations in Libya," says the measure crafted by Republican Senators John Ensign and Kay Bailey Hutchison.
The non-binding resolution says NATO members and other nations supportive of enforcing a UN mandate to protect Libyan civilians from strongman Moamer Kadhafi's forces "should agree to provide a substantial portion of the military and financial burdens" before any more US involvement.
And members of the Arab League "should ensure that all of their military resources are available" to enforce UN resolutions on Libya,.
Leading senators including Democrats John Kerry and Carl Levin as well as Republican John McCain have been working behind the scenes on a possible measure expressing support for the military operations.
"We've pretty well got the resolution nailed down and now we're discussing with the leaders as to whether we need to vote and if so when," McCain told reporters Thursday.
But a senior senate aide played down the prospects for action, saying there was as yet no clear consensus on whether there would need to be a vote.
The US Constitution reserves to Congress the right to declare war, though US presidents have often deployed forces without first getting lawmakers' explicit say-so, despite a 1973 law that aimed to curtail their ability to do so.
The War Powers Act allows the president to use force in response to an attack on the United States, its territories, or its armed forces, but calls for notifying Congress within 48 hours and says US troops must start to withdraw 60 days later unless specifically authorized to remain by lawmakers.
Kerry said in late March that Obama had notified congressional leaders March 21, meaning the 60-day mark would fall May 20, and said senators had begun drafting a measure approving the US role in Libya.
"Whether we will need it or not, we don't know," said Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman.