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Libya vote: How Speaker Boehner preserved GOP unity and US-NATO ties

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“Our loyalty to NATO does not trump our loyalty to the US Constitution,” said Congressman Kucinich during the floor debate.

“The president should not be able to simply have wars of choice,” said freshman Rep. Jeff Duncan (R) of South Carolina. “The Constitution is very clear. Only the Congress can declare war.”

“This is a defining moment for us as a people, for this body, and for Congress as an institution,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah, one of 76 members of the conservative Republican Study Committee who voted with Kucinich.

The Boehner resolution is “not a remedy,” said Rep. Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona, another RSC member. “It’s a mild rebuke followed by a questionnaire.”

On Wednesday House GOP leaders dropped plans for a vote on the Kucinich measure after it appeared likely that GOP votes would put the measure over the top. In a caucus meeting on Thursday, Boehner appealed to GOP lawmakers to avoid a break with NATO allies and back his alternative.

“Boehner tried to water down and turn into pastels the plain language of the Kucinich amendment,” says libertarian Bruce Fein, president of American Freedom Agenda and a former associate deputy attorney general during the Reagan administration.

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