WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is partially to blame for growing discontent among members of Congress over wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday.
"The members are a bit weary about the amount of money that is being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Libya, and as a result are wondering what our vital national security entails," Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a press conference. "I think the president has a role to play here and he does need to step up so people understand why these missions are vital."
The House is gearing up to vote on a resolution regarding Obama's actions in Libya, possibly condemning the White House for not consulting Congress about using U.S. troops in military efforts to take down Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
A vote is expected to take place on Friday, with the Republican Conference gathering Thursday afternoon to discuss which resolution on Libya will go to the House floor.
"I expect this issue will be resolved by tomorrow," Boehner said Thursday.
Three members of Congress have authored resolutions condemning the president's actions in Libya, but only one will likely make it to the floor. Legislation from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that would disallow the U.S. from participating in a NATO-led effort to overthrow Gaddafi will almost certainly be skipped. Kucinich argued Obama acted in violation of the 1973 War Powers Act, which says only Congress can declare war.
Republican leadership abruptly decided on Wednesday not to hold a floor vote on Kucinich's resolution because they feared it would pass. Instead, the lawmakers asked members of their conference to put together a resolution with lesser implications for military actions in Libya.
Boehner told reporters Wednesday that the White House's actions were legal under the War Powers Act, but that the House would still be given an opportunity to vote on a resolution on Libya.
He acknowledged growing concerns over wars abroad, including in Afghanistan, after a measure demanding withdrawal of troops came within 12 votes of passage last week.
"I think there is a lot of concern, given the budget deficit and given our debt. I think every penny that the Congress spends is getting a lot more scrutiny," he said. "The doubts that our members have are reflected in what they're hearing from their constituents."
Still, he said stood behind the White House's military decisions, although he does not "know what the correct number of troops should be."
"I've been supportive of the president's goals in Afghanistan," he said. "As long as the president is listening to our diplomats and our commanders on the ground, I will support him."