Tags: Barack Obama | Emerging Threats | War on Terrorism | ISIS | War Powers Resolution | Obama and ISIS | Islamic State

Obama Strategy Blocking ISIS Vote As War 'Clock' Runs Out

Obama Strategy Blocking ISIS Vote As War 'Clock' Runs Out
(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 05 September 2014 12:39 PM

President Barack Obama's refusal to outline his strategy on the Islamic State (ISIS), along with other maneuvers, is keeping Congress from moving forward with authorizing the president's actions in Iraq and Syria as the War Powers Act "clock" is coming close to running out, Capitol Hill sources say.

Earlier this week, after the murder of American journalist Steven Sotloff, the two leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said they want to push for more congressional oversight over the president's actions in Iraq and Syria, and force a vote on the issue, reports The Daily Beast

The lack of strategy is keeping Congress from authorizing or rejecting Obama's actions, despite frustration from lawmakers from both parties, and the president has not yet said how he plans to justify his decision to order airstrikes after his temporary authority period runs out.

According to the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a president has 48 hours to report to Congress that he has ordered military force to be used in a hostile environment. After that, Congress has 60 days to authorize the action, or it must be stopped. After that, the president can order just one 30-day extension.

The Obama administration has issued three such reports to Congress about the use of military force in Iraq, with the first report going out on Aug. 8 and the latest one on Sept. 1. In the reports, Congress was notified that the airstrikes were ordered to protect American personnel in Erbil, to rescue Yazidi minorities who ISIS trapped on Mount Sinjar, to protect the Mosul Dam, and to save the people in the Shiite town of Amirli.

As the first report went out on Aug 8, that means the War Powers "clock" will expire on Oct. 8, and Obama would be able to extend it until Nov. 8.

However, the administration may end up arguing that the new notifications are resetting the clock and will give Obama unlimited authority to order attacks on Iraq without congressional permission.

The Obama administration did schedule a congressional briefing for Friday about ISIS, but Republicans on key committees involved in the briefings complained to Newsmax on Thursday that they were not told about the classified session. 

Officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center are expected to brief members of the congressional leaders' staffs, as well as the House Intelligence Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, Armed Services Committee, and the defense and foreign operations appropriations subcommittees.

Obama has a history of acting without congressional approval. In 2011, during his actions against Libya, he used military strikes for much longer than the 60- or 90-day deadlines, claiming that there were "hostilities" so the War Powers Resolution would not come into play.

“It’s a legal shell game,” a senior GOP senate aide told The Daily Beast. “But more than that, it’s an ad hoc reaction to a threat. And so, the legal rationale that flows from that is minimal because what he’s doing is minimal.”

But both parties are pushing for Obama to do more to combat ISIS, and to have his actions endorsed by Congress.

"I think we all agree that having a national strategy for defeating the Islamic terrorist state is imperative,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a conference call to his caucus on Wednesday. "America is at risk of another 9/11 unless we confront and defeat this terrorist threat. The safety and security of the American people, and that of our allies, is at stake."

However, Congress has just two weeks of legislation set in September, so it may not act on the authorization before its next recess, pushing Obama's ISIS decisions until after the November midterm election.

Several senators are then expected to try to use the lame duck section to add amendments
authorizing Obama's action on ISIS to the National Defense Authorization Act, or the bill that sets Pentagon policy.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Senate Armed Services Committee's top Republican, has already drafted legislation to authorize military force against ISIS, reports The Daily Beast. Further, Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has drafted legislation to authorize Obama to order strikes on ISIS inside Syria, and his spokesman Ryan Brown said the senator wants to add the legislation to the Defense Authorization bill.

"This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” said Nelson, after Florida-born Sotloff's execution. "Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty.”

© 2018 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

1Like our page
President Obama's refusal to outline his strategy on ISIS is keeping Congress from moving forward with authorizing the president's actions in Iraq and Syria under the War Powers Act, and time is running out.
ISIS, War Powers Resolution, Obama and ISIS, Islamic State
Friday, 05 September 2014 12:39 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved