Republicans Wade Into the Kosovo Morass

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WASHINGTON: Republicans are off the sidelines on the Kosovo crisis, and a little sooner than they'd like. Late Wednesday, the House voted 249-180, mostly along party lines, on a resolution that has commander in chief Bill Clinton -- who already has 18 NATO partners to deal with -- rubbing his temples: They want to require that Clinton get congressional approval before injecting "ground elements" into the conflict in Yugoslavia. Such vague language could mean Apache helicopters and definitely includes ground troops, but TIME congressional correspondent John Dickerson says that for now, Republicans are just looking for a place to hide.

Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) last week invoked a clause in the War Powers Act of 1973 that forced full House votes Wednesday on two resolutions, one declaring war on Yugoslavia and the other requiring President Clinton to withdraw U.S. troops within 30 days. Neither had a chance, but to simply vote no on both would mean an implicit endorsement of Clinton's way. Fractured as the party is over Kosovo, no GOPer was in the mood for that. "This was a symbolic vote so that Republicans could assert their authority in the Kosovo conflict," he says. "But they'd still rather not deal with it -- so far, the best way for them is to leave this as Clinton's war."