Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to introduce a new war authorization on Wednesday that could put the fight against the Islamic State on more solid legal ground, the Washington Examiner reports.
The Obama administration argued that its confrontation against ISIS was covered by two previous war authorizations from the beginning of this century that specified the war on terrorism and fighting in Iraq.
Legal scholars, however, have challenged this, because the Islamic State did not exist when Congress passed the two previous war authorizations, and only about a fourth of current congressmen were even serving and voted on them, according to the Examiner.
Although most on Capitol Hill agree that a new war authorization is an important statement of national support for the battles being waged, disagreements among Republicans and Democrats have prevented the measure from being passed for two years.
When former President Barack Obama sent his request to Congress in February 2015, the GOP said it did not give the commander in chief wide enough powers to properly conduct the war, while Democrats said they were concerned the authorization was too broad and could become a blank check.
Since then no proposal on the issue has received a vote on the floor.
The new war authorization being introduced by Republicans on Wednesday specifies those that can be targeted by American forces as al-Qaida, the Taliban and the Islamic State, as well as successor or associated groups, the Examiner reported.
In addition, it would allow the U.S. to detain members of those terrorist groups, repeal the authorizations from 2001 and 2002, and require the president to give Congress a plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days of the authorization passing.
Freshman Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., a former Marine intelligence officer who is on the Foreign Relations Committee and is spearheading the legislation in the Senate, told Stars and Stripes: "We have a moral obligation to weigh in from time to time about issues pertaining to military force and when we send out young men and women into battle.
"To the extent we delegate that authority to the commander in chief, we act in a less than ethical and a less than constitutional fashion," he added.
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