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Guidance on today's House Libya votes

Here's how we expect today's votes on Libya to go in the House:

1. Right now, the House is voting on the RULE to govern debate of both Libya-related measures. We could refer to this as a preliminary vote. This will pass.

2. The House will then move on to debating H. J. Res. 68, which authorizes the limited use of the U.S. Armed Forces in Support of the NATO mission in Libya. (This is similar to what Kerry/McCain introduced in the Senate.) After this debate concludes, the House will vote on this resolution. We expect this vote to happen between noon and 1:00 pm ET. We believe this will fail in the House.   

3. The House will then debate H.R. 2278, which limits the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for Libya operations. The practical effect of this bill would be that the U.S. could not participate in aerial bombing campaigns in Libya anymore, but would still allow funds to be used for:

(1) search and rescue;
(2) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance;
(3) aerial refueling;
(4) operational planning

Please note that the Senate has no plans to take up this second bill, and there's pretty much no chance it would become law. However, this vote will be interesting because there's a very good chance it could pass with bipartisan support. The GOP says they're not whipping it. Also, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came and spoke to the Democratic caucus yesterday in an effort to shore up support for the preisdent's policy in Libya. 

We expect the vote on this bill to happen between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm.