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The Hill's Alex Bolton: Debate Over Action In Libya Creates GOP Friction

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Republicans debate authorizing action in Libya

Bolton says Tuesday Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) scolded House Republicans who have been planning to hold a vote challenging Obama's decision to conduct military operations in Libya. McCain has teamed up with Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to put together a resolution to authorize military activity in Libya designed to oust Col. Moammar Gaddafi.

McCain argues that Republicans would be setting a bad precedent by arguing with the president as commander in chief when it comes to a foreign military conflict.

Bolton says he thinks it's unlikely Congress will cut funding for military action because that would require something to pass both chambers and receive a signature from the president. However, Bolton says getting congressional approval for action in Libya may be tougher.

Even Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), whom Bolton describes as a "traditional Republican on national security issues," expressed some ambivalence about supporting a resolution that would retroactively authorize Obama's decision to go into Libya.

Obama to announce Afghanistan troop withdrawal plan

Obama has said he will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July. Bolton says there is division on what lawmakers want to see happen, but "there is growing consensus that it should be a significant draw-down on troops."

Obama will outline his withdrawal plan Wednesday at 8 p.m. in an address to the nation. Bolton says there have been conflicting reports about what he'll propose in the speech.

"There's a strong faction of liberals in the Senate and two conservative Republicans -- Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky -- who are pushing for a dramatic scale-down in troops," Bolton says.

Others have said it's up to generals on the ground in Afghanistan to make a decision.


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