Chaffetz: On Libya, Obama ‘Does Not Seem to Care’ about Congress

by Robert Costa

Washington — As U.S. and international forces ramp up their attacks on Qaddafi forces, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a two-term Republican from Utah, is blasting President Obama for ignoring lawmakers as he pursues military action in Libya. “The president does not seem to care about the United States Congress,” he says. “The president has failed to define success and explain to the American people and the Congress why we are going to war.”

“On the surface the president appears to be much more worried about what President Sarkozy has to say about things then the Congress,” he continues. “Following the French to war ought to raise a few eyebrows.”

Chaffetz tells National Review Online that he is alarmed at how the House and Senate have been sidelined. “One of the great challenges for the 112th Congress is, ‘Are we even going to be relevant?’ We better darn well start standing up for ourselves in the House.”

Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on national security, adds that he is disappointed with the president for being “anxious to go to the United Nations for so-called authorization while doing nothing to interact with the rank-and-file members of Congress.” He says that he agrees with George F. Will’s assessment on ABC’s This Week on Sunday — that the administration has not fully comprehended the geopolitical consequences of its support of anti-Qaddafi rebels.

Still, Chaffetz notes, he is not ready to break with  House Speaker John Boehner. Over the weekend, Boehner urged Obama to “better explain” his policy and consult with Congress, but did not oppose Obama’s decision.

“I have not spoken directly with the speaker yet, so I give him the benefit of the doubt,” Chaffetz says. “I understand the speaker’s need for temperance. Now that we are firing missiles and engaged, we need to make sure we are as supportive of the troops as possible, since they are in a dangerous and precarious situation.”

“At the end of the day, there needs to be a clear and present danger, and I see none in this case,” he says. “We have to sort out how this happened.”

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