The decision to put the resolutions to a vote came after Republican leaders earlier this week postponed consideration of one of them, which would direct the president to end American’s military involvement in the operations. It was sponsored by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat who is one of the most liberal members of the House.
The leadership feared that the Kucinich measure would pass with backing from an unlikely coalition of liberals and conservatives, a step they contended would send the wrong message to allies engaged in other conflicts with the United States.
If either or both were to pass, it would represent the most assertive stance by Congress to date on the Libya conflict and highlight the chronic tensions between the executive and legislative branches over the president’s ability to wage war without Congress’s express approval.
The United States is currently providing NATO with intelligence, logistical support and armed drones in what is largely a bombing campaign against Libyan government forces.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was in Singapore on Thursday, where the Pentagon press secretary, Geoff Morrell, expressed concerns over the prospect of Congress voting against American support for the operations in Libya.
“It sends an unhelpful message of disunity and uncertainty to our troops, our allies and, most importantly, the Qaddafi regime,” Mr. Morrell said. He also warned that the Kucinich measure could harm American relations with NATO allies contributing troops to Afghanistan.
Mr. Boehner’s resolution notes that Mr. Obama has not obtained Congressional authorization for the air offensive in Libya. It demands that the administration provide, within 14 days, detailed information about the nature, cost and objectives of the American contribution to the NATO operation, as well as an explanation for why the White House did not come to Congress for permission.
Last month, Mr. Obama sent a letter to Congress emphasizing that the United States had turned control of the operation over to NATO and that it was primarily providing support to allies. The letter also said the administration supported the idea of lawmakers expressing their support for the operation, but it did not concede that such authorization was legally necessary.
Early in the conflict, the administration said it was within Mr. Obama’s power to initiate American participation in the hostilities without Congress because the combat was of limited scope and duration.
But the War Powers Resolution says that presidents must terminate hostilities after 60 days if they have not been authorized by Congress. That deadline passed on May 20, and the administration has not explained why it thinks it was lawful for the operation to continue.
Congressional opposition to American involvement in Libya sits at center of several otherwise unconnected points of view: the antiwar leanings of the left, the strong dislike of the president by many Republicans, fiscal concerns among Tea Party-backed lawmakers who are increasingly worried about the costs of military conflicts, and a broad feeling on Capitol Hill that the powers of Congress were usurped by the president’s decision not to seek explicit authorization to continue American involvement.
Last week, the House approved an amendment to a military authorization bill that would prevent the deployment of American ground troops to Libya.
“There is a question of how far we stretch our troops,” said Representative Tim Scott of South Carolina, a freshman Republican. “Also, what is the reason that we are there? I don’t think the answer to either of those questions is clear here.”
Mr. Kucinich’s resolution, citing the War Powers Resolution, directs the president to remove American armed forces from Libya 15 days after the date of adoption. It could conceivably find more support among Republicans than Democrats, some of whom will find themselves squeamish about rebuking a Democratic president. But the Republican leadership opposes the Kucinich measure.
It “would undermine our troops in harm’s way and undercut our allies who have stood by us in Afghanistan and other areas abroad,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “Regardless of how we got here, we cannot suddenly turn our backs on our troops and our NATO partners who have stuck by us for the last 10 years.”
The Democratic leadership suggested that it would not back either resolution. “The resolutions by Speaker Boehner and Congressman Kucinich, as currently drafted, do not advance our efforts in the region and send the wrong message to our NATO partners,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi in a statement.
Several Republicans leaving a meeting with Mr. Boehner Thursday said that they would have to consider both measures.
“As a 22-year combat veteran, I would be happy to stand beside Dennis Kucinich on this,” said Representative Allen B. West of Florida, a Republican freshman.
In that, Mr. West joins an unlikely alliance with Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York. “The president had no authority to go into Libya,” Mr. Nadler said. “There was no threat to the United States, and I think the action was illegal and wrong as a matter of constitutional law.”
Mr. Boehner’s measure is an appealing alternative to some members. “I think the president, if he’d come here to make the case, probably would have had widespread support,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois. However, Mr. Kinzinger said he did not support removing American forces from the operation in Libya and supported the overall mission as vital to American interests.
Even if passed by the House and the Senate, it is unclear how much impact either measure would have. A 1983 Supreme Court ruling raised doubts about the constitutionality of any attempt by Congress to direct the executive branch to do something using a resolution that the president has no chance to veto.
However, such a resolution could increase political pressure on the White House and set the stage for a later effort to cut off funds for further operations in Libya in a budget bill.