WASHINGTON -- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) bashed the White House on Friday for intervening in Libya to oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi, saying the United States does not need to be the "9-1-1 for the world."
"We have got to stop subsidizing the rest of the world," he said on the House floor (see video below). "Particularly now. When members from the Appropriations Committee come up and tell us, you got to go and do this, but let's cut police in Massachusetts, let's cut housing in Ohio, let's cut transportation in California, we cannot reduce our deficit in a way that allows us to maintain any concern for the quality of life here if we continue to spend money promiscuously over there."
Frank spoke in support of a measure by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) that would have blocked the U.S. military from assisting NATO forces in Libya after 15 days. That measure went down on Friday afternoon in a 148 to 265 vote, with support from 87 Republicans and 61 Democrats.
Another resolution on Libya, rebuking President Barack Obama for acting without authorization, passed the House in a 268-145 vote. That bill, written by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), does not demand that the U.S. withdraw from Libya. Instead, the resolution asks the White House to deliver justifications for invading Libya based on American national security interests, which they initially used to explain the intervention but did not officially give to Congress.
Supporters of the Boehner resolution said it was important to show their disappointment with Obama without harming the United States' relations with its NATO allies, a rationale Frank flatly rejected.
"I heard one of my colleagues on the other side say, well, the Europeans are there, but let's not poke them in the eye," he said. "Poke them in the eye? We have for years, since the beginning of NATO, been subsidizing them so they have military budgets less than half of ours as a percentage of their GDP, so they can do better than us in health care and competitiveness and every other way."