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Friday June 24, 2011 | 03:46 PM

Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud of Maine joined just 34 other House Democrats in voting today in favor of a GOP-leadership authored bill prohibiting the use of U.S. defense funds on direct military operations in Libya such as missile strikes but allowing U.S. money to spent in support of the NATO operations there.

The bill failed 180-238, with 89 Republicans joining 149 Democrats in voting against the repudiation of President Obama’s Libya policy.

Both Pingree, 1st district, and Michaud, 2nd district, again were in the minority of the Democratic caucus when they voted against another Libya resolution, this one backing Obama’s policy. But that measure, too, failed, 123-295, with a total 70 Democrats joining most Republicans in voting no.

Pingree said she voted the way she did because, “I don’t want to see Libya turn into another open-ended war with no exit strategy.  It’s already cost us $750 million at a time when we budgets are very tight.”

Michaud said that he has “serious reservations about our involvement in Libya, the cost of the operations, and the fact that Congress was not consulted, which is a violation of the War Powers Act. That’s why I opposed an endorsement of the conflict and supported a bill that will limit our operations to prevent mission creep.”

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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