Congress Calls For Debate On ISIS War Authorization

| by Ethan Brown
President Barack Obama.President Barack Obama.

In a rare showing of bipartisanship, three lawmakers have crafted a resolution that would force the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on allowing military action fighting Islamic State group to continue.

Despite the U.S.-led attacks on the terrorist group regularly occurring since August 2014, Congress has yet to officially authorize the airstrikes and bombing campaigns, which has some lawmakers worried about the possibility of the campaign lasting years into the future.

The resolution, created by Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, would mandate that President Barack Obama withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria and Iraq within 30 days or by the end of this year, Time reported.

President Obama has attempted to give Congress the legal authority to allow the attacks. In February 2015, the commander in chief sent a draft authorization of military force to the U.S. House of Representatives, which explained the president’s objectives and plans in defeating Islamic State group. The draft has yet to be voted on, with members of both parties objecting to the weaknesses in the wording.

“The president’s request for Authorization of Use of Military Force calls for less authority than he has today. Given the fight that we’re in, it’s irresponsible,” said House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio. Boehner was speaking at a news conference on May 19 when he gave these comments in which he also suggested the president redo the entire draft.

Democrats believed the wording in the draft allowed the president to continue airstrikes indefinitely.

“More than eight months into yet another open-ended war in the Middle East, Congress has yet to live up to its constitutional responsibility to debate and vote on this war,” said Lee. “The president sent Congress an authorization. It’s past time that the speaker allow a debate and vote on such a critical national security issue.”

Lee is known for her anti-war sentiment; she was the only member of Congress to vote against sending U.S. troops in Afghanistan immediately after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Recently, Islamic State group has advanced to major cities throughout Iraq, including Ramadi, not far from Baghdad. Iraqi troops have tried to reclaim the city but have failed repeatedly, leading U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter blaming the Iraqi soldiers for their “lack of will to fight.”

According to USA Today, the U.S. is better preparing Iraqi forces to fight the increasingly powerful and influential terror group. For example, the Pentagon has sent 2,000 portable anti-tank weapons, as most of the weaponry the Iraqi forces were using was stolen by Islamic State group after its successful invasion in May.

Sources: Time, The Hill, USA Today

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons