WASHINGTON - The White House brushed off congressional demands for a detailed report outlining U.S. objectives in Libya, a move likely to stoke further anger on Capitol Hill over President Obama's decision not to seek lawmakers' consent for the military operation.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday that administration officials were already answering questions about Libya in briefings on Capitol Hill. A House resolution calling on Obama to provide more detailed answers was "unhelpful," Carney added.
However, the spokesman said the White House could continue to hold regular consultations with Congress on Libya.
Several House members have expressed their dissatisfaction with those briefings, saying more of them won't suffice.
On Friday, the House passed a nonbinding resolution chastising Obama for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for the Libyan mission and demanding a report "describing in detail" the operation's objective, its costs and its impact on the nation's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Forty-five Democrats joined the Republican majority in passing the resolution.
Obama ordered airstrikes in March after a U.N. resolution, and consultation with Congress has been limited. The Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war, and the 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to obtain congressional authorization within 60 days of the start of military operations, a deadline that passed last month.
The White House says it believes the Libya campaign still complies with the War Powers Resolution.
Also yesterday, NATO launched airstrikes in and around Tripoli in the morning, afternoon and evening as the alliance appeared to be increasing the frequency of strikes around the Libyan capital - the stronghold of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi's four-decade-old regime.