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House OKs rebuke of Obama action on Libya

WASHINGTON -- The Republican-controlled House on Friday adopted a resolution rebuking President Barack Obama for dispatching U.S. military forces against Libya without congressional approval. The vote was 268-145, over White House objections.

The resolution by Speaker John Boehner said the president has failed to provide a "compelling rationale" for the nearly 3-month-old operation to aid rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's forces. During Friday's debate, Democrats and Republicans complained that Obama ignored Congress' constitutional authority to declare war.

The nonbinding measure insists that Obama provide Congress with details on the scope of the mission and its costs within 14 days. It also bars U.S. ground forces except to rescue an American service member.

Shortly after the vote, the House rejected a considerably tougher measure advanced by Rep. Dennis Kucinch (D-Ohio) that demanded an end to U.S. involvement in the NATO-led operation in Libya. The vote was 265-148. The GOP leadership hastily pulled together the Boehner resolution amid concerns in both parties that the Kucinich measure was gaining ground.

In Libya Friday, rebels forced government troops from three western towns and broke the siege on another, a rebel commander in Benghazi said. NATO pounded 10 targets across the country.

The heavy bombing and rebel victory, plus the first publicized diplomatic contact between China and the rebel leadership, reflect the continued erosion of Gadhafi's power.

The Senate had no plans to consider the House rebuke.

Boehner (R-Ohio) assailed the administration for failing to answer several questions about the operation. "Clearly there's information that we want from the administration that we asked for in this resolution and it's information that we expect to get," he told reporters.

The White House pushed back against both resolutions, with spokesman Josh Earnest calling them "unnecessary and unhelpful." Earnest insisted that the administration has been consulting with Congress since before Obama ordered air strikes.

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