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House split on votes over U.S. operations in Libya

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives sent President Obama a strong bipartisan message Friday that it's frustrated and impatient with the U.S. military mission in Libya.

The House voted 123 to 295 to deny congressional consent for extending the three-month-old effort for another year, a clear rebuke to Obama.

In the Kansas delegation, all members voted to deny consent.

But the House would not take the extra step of denying funding for the mission. A bid led by Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., to cut off money for all but search and rescue, intelligence, aerial refueling and non-combat operations got bipartisan support, but lost on a 180 to 238 vote ; 144 Republicans and 36 Democrats supported the restrictions.

In the Kansas delegation, Kevin Yoder and Lynn Jenkins voted for the restrictions. Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo voted against it.

The votes mean that U.S. involvement in the NATO-led effort to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from crushing his people can continue. But the emotional, half-day debate illustrated the discontent that many lawmakers and their constituents feel about the mission, similar to their reservations about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney voiced dismay.

"We are disappointed by that vote. We think now is not the time to send the kind of mixed message that it sends when we are working with our allies to achieve the goals that we believe that are widely shared in Congress, that — protecting civilians in Libya, enforcing a no-fly zone, enforcing an arms embargo and further putting pressure on Gadhafi. And the writing is on the wall for Colonel Gadhafi, and now is not the time to let up."

Democratic House leaders had pressed for the legislation to authorize the Libya mission for one more year, while barring most U.S. ground troops. In all, 70 Democrats and 225 Republicans voted against it. The Senate is expected to consider a similar measure early next month, and Democratic leaders there expect it to pass.

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