The Republican-controlled House of Representatives delivered a rare rebuke to Barack Obama over his involvement in the Libyan war on Friday by rejecting a resolution to authorise the U.S. mission.
It is an embarrassment for the president to have a vote go against him in time of conflict and reflects the disenchantment in the U.S. over yet another war.
The vote is primarily symbolic but members of Congress sympathetic to Obama and the US role in Libya said the danger was that it could leave the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, with the impression that support for the war is collapsing.
The House voted 295 to 123 against the resolution to authorise the war. About 70 of the president's Democratic party joined the Republicans to vote it down. The vote was held to highlight a constitutional debate between the White House and Congress over presidents engaging in wars without congressional approval.