President Barack Obama could well have more Republican than Democratic support when he asks Congress, probably next week, to renew his Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the Islamic State group, Politico
Obama is not keen to put boots on the ground in the Middle East but does not want the authorization to explicitly preclude the possibility.
Some dovish Democrats are insisting that any war-making authorization, known as an AIMF, be for a limited period of time and forbid the use of ground forces in Syria or Iraq.
Some Republicans say the president should be able to deploy up to 20,000 troops as necessary, Politico reported.
U.S. military advisers have been used in Iraq to train local forces, and over 2,000 airstrikes against ISIS targets have been carried out.
Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth is one of several Democrats who has made it clear they would be unlikely to back the president's request. Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern is another who would oppose giving Obama an authorization that didn't ban outright use of soldiers on the ground.
The White House is seeking to craft the AUMF so that it would have bipartisan support, according to spokesman Josh Earnest, Politico reported.
Consideration of the request will give the Republican-led Congress a chance to debate the administration's strategy against ISIS. Republicans say Obama has failed to come up with a robust line of attack. For instance, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, speaking on the Fox News Channel, said he wanted to see Obama make the U.S. mission one of "destroying" as opposed to "degrading" ISIS.
The president said his AUMF request would be forthcoming when he met with lawmakers on Jan. 13.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, anticipates Obama will make his authorization for use of military force request in the coming days and would be "disappointed" if he didn't, Politico reported.
Each outrage carried out by ISIS — burning to death a captured Jordanian pilot being the latest example — stirs up support for military action against the Sunni Islamist group.
Kinzinger said the killing of the pilot ought to be a "game-changer."
Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said, "The president is going to find a strong, strong supermajority of members of both houses in both parties who want to do this," according to Politico.
The Constitution in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, gives Congress the power to declare war. That power has been exercised five times though U.S. military forces have been deployed around the world some 125 times. The 1973 War Powers Act was meant to curb the president's ability to commit the United States to an armed conflict absent the consent of Congress.
The Obama White House wants an authorization so that it does not have to rely on the AUMF Congress granted president George W. Bush in the aftermath of al-Qaida's Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the U.S. homeland.
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