So what happens in two days?
This week, the War Powers Act confronts its moment of truth. Friday will mark the 60th day since President Obama told Congress of his Libyan campaign. According to the act, that declaration started a 60-day clock: If Obama fails to obtain congressional support for his decision within this time limit, he has only one option — end American involvement within the following 30 days...I'm sure our friends on the left will explain to us how President Bush's presidency was "imperial" but President Obama's is something else--maybe they'll call it "practical" or something that sounds equally innocuous. Or maybe, after supporting it for almost 40 years, they'll say it's unconstitutional.
His (Obama's) March 21 letter to Congress telling of the Libyan campaign stated that it was “consistent with the War Powers Resolution.” And his Justice Department issued an opinion that acknowledged the 60-day rule without questioning its constitutionality.
Why, then, hasn’t the president been pressing Congress to approve the war before the looming deadline? Because it’s easier to paper over the problem with new legal fictions pretending that the time limit doesn’t apply to this instance...
Once Obama crosses the Rubicon, future presidents will simply cite Libya when they unilaterally commit America to far more ambitious NATO campaigns.
Make no mistake: Obama is breaking new ground, moving decisively beyond his predecessors. George W. Bush gained congressional approval for his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bill Clinton acted unilaterally when he committed American forces to NATO’s bombing campaign in Kosovo, but he persuaded Congress to approve special funding for his initiative within 60 days. And the entire operation ended on its 78th day.
In contrast, Congress has not granted special funds for Libya since the bombing began, and the campaign is likely to continue beyond the 30-day limit set for termination of all operations.