U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), the Republican ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said President Barack Obama was “extremely lacking in judgment” by not coming to Congress for authorization of military force against the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL).
“I think the president should come to Congress and ask for the authorization for the use of force…I don’t think he’s going to ask for that, and I’m dismayed by that,” Corker said on CNN Tuesday. “I think most people here want to deal with ISIS in a strong manner that exterminates them. But I think not seeking that approval on the front end is extremely lacking in judgment.”
Obama told congressional leaders during a meeting Wednesday night that he has the authorization he needs to take action against the group, as he prepares to address the nation about his strategy for defeating ISIS Wednesday night. But he suggested he would “welcome action by the Congress that would aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united.”
There has not been a consensus in Congress about whether Obama should seek authorization for an expansion of military action against ISIS. Many members of Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said Obama should seek approval.
However, other congressional leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have remained mum on their thoughts about authorization. Multiple House and Senate aides have signaled there might be little appetite for Congress to vote on military action in an election year with a generally war-weary public.
Congress looked set to vote down Obama’s request for airstrikes against Syrian regime targets last year, before the West reached a deal with the Syrian government to remove its “declared” chemical-weapons stockpiles.
McConnell has become the most outspoken of congressional leaders on the topic of congressional authorization this time around. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have all been silent on the topic of whether there should be a congressional vote.
The 1973 War Powers Resolution specifies the president must consult with Congress before deploying U.S. forces into battle-type situations. The resolution gives the president a 60-day window to carry out military operations before coming to Congress for approval.
Whether or not it gets a crack at authorization, Congress would have to approve any new funding for operations. The White House has begun a push for Congress to approve a $US5 billion counterterrorism fund that could aid in operations against ISIS.
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