Tags: Barack Obama | Emerging Threats | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | ISIS | airstrikes | war powers

Congress Divided on Whether Vote Needed on ISIS Airstrikes

By    |   Tuesday, 09 September 2014 07:28 AM

Congress is divided on whether President Barack Obama should — or is required to — seek approval from Capitol Hill for military action against the Islamic State (ISIS).

According to Politico, rank-and-file members from both parties are calling for a vote to authorize ongoing airstrikes, but the leadership is opposed. On Monday, members in both chambers introduced legislation that would give Congress a vote on whether to authorize military action in Syria.  

"The dissension over whether congressional authorization is needed crosses party lines and highlights the tough spot the new conflict creates for many lawmakers — particularly with the midterm elections less than two months away and polling showing increasing public alarm over ISIL," Politico said. ISIL is another acronym for the Islamic State.

In particular, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul said the president would be showing "disregard for the Constitution, and for the history of our country" should he choose not to seek authorization.

"We really should have a vote, the process of a vote puts all congressmen and senators on record, and it is the process of enlisting the American people in a long and expensive conflict," Illinois GOP Sen. Mark Kirk told reporters, according to Politico.

Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine suggested that if the president acts without congressional approval, he would be in breach of the War Powers Act, which requires authorization for sustained military action. Florida Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson has also been a vocal proponent of a vote, and was one of the lawmakers who introduced a resolution to authorize airstrikes.

But South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believes the War Powers Act is unconstitutional and therefore not relevant.

"The president has an abundant amount of authority to conduct operations. It would be good to have Congress on board. I don't think the War Powers Act is constitutional," Graham said, according to The Hill. "If Congress doesn't like what he's doing, we can always cut the money off."

The White House said the president will seek "buy-in" from Congress on a strategy to fight ISIS, but the president said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he has the authorization to act without a formal vote.

A number of senators agree, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein.

"One is not necessary, and I don't think we need to do it. We'll see what the president lays out," Feinstein said, according to The Hill, referring to the national security speech Obama is expected to make Wednesday.

"I would vote for it depending on how it's structured, but I don't think he needs to," said Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, according to Politico. "I think he has the authority to address the threat of ISIS."

Republicans have been calling for the president to lay out a clearer strategy for how the United States will tackle ISIS, and the president's upcoming remarks are being widely anticipated by members in both parties.

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Congress is divided on whether President Obama should - or is required to - seek approval from Capitol Hill for military action against the Islamic State.
ISIS, airstrikes, war powers, vote
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 07:28 AM
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