House calls off vote on Libya resolution

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives on Wednesday called off a vote on a proposal directing President Barack Obama to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya, with majority Republicans saying they wanted more information from the president.

Democrat Dennis Kucinich, the resolution’s disappointed sponsor, suggested the vote was dropped because it might have passed, which would have confirmed that most of the lawmakers want the United States out of the Libyan war.

“Some are now wondering if a preliminary vote count on my resolution came out in favor,” Kucinich said in a statement.

U.S. intervention in Libya has been controversial in Congress since Obama notified lawmakers on March 21 that he had ordered it as part of a multinational coalition conducting air strikes to shield civilians from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

There are supporters and detractors of the U.S. role in both parties. Last week, the House passed two amendments to a defense bill pushing back against the mission, including one prohibiting the use of U.S. ground troops in the African nation.

House aides said Republican leaders delayed the vote on Kucinich’s proposal because they wanted more information from Obama before proceeding. It was unclear when they would reschedule a vote, or whether Kucinich would use procedural rules to try to force one.

“The President must consult with the House and clearly define the mission and strategy in Libya prior to consideration of the Kucinich resolution so that members can vote with a clear definition of purpose,” said Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for House Republican Leader Eric Cantor.

Some Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, complain Obama committed forces to Libya without defining the mission.

Kucinich’s measure would invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to direct Obama to stop the U.S. participation in the war. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, says Obama violated the part of the law that prohibits U.S. armed forces from being involved in military actions for over 60 days without congressional authorization.

White House officials have suggested that the limited, NATO-led U.S. action might not be enough to reach the law’s threshold.