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U.S. House sends mixed message on Libya

WASHINGTON -- The House voted yesterday to bar military aid to Libyan rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi but stopped short of prohibiting funds for U.S. involvement in a NATO-led mission now in its fourth month.

Sending a muddled message in the constitutional challenge to President Barack Obama, Republicans and Democrats signaled their frustration with U.S. participation in a stalemated civil war but also showed their unwillingness to end the operation.

The unrest stems in large part from Obama's decision not to seek congressional consent for a third war in addition to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

"Congress has allowed the president to overreach in Libya," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).

The House voted 225-201 for an amendment sponsored by Cole to bar the Pentagon from providing "military equipment, training or advice or other support for military activities," to an outside group, such as rebel forces, for military action in or against Libya. Forty-eight Democrats backed the measure.

Moments later, the House rejected a measure that would have prohibited funds for the U.S. military to continue its limited role. The vote was 229-199, with 67 Democrats supporting the amendment.

"This is our moment to reclaim the Constitution of the United States," said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), co-sponsor of the amendment with Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).-- AP

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