ISIS vote divides Senate

Senators are divided over whether Congress should vote this month to authorize military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the schism is cutting across party lines.

Senior Democrats such as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFive things to know about the elephant trophies controversy The feds need to be held accountable for role in Russia scandal Lawyer: Kushner is 'the hero' in campaign emails regarding Russia MORE (Calif.) say President Obama does not need additional authority, and that position has support from hawkish Republicans such as Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress faces growing health care crisis in Puerto Rico The Hill's 12:30 Report Colbert mocks Trump for sipping water during speech on Asia trip MORE (Fla.), who is weighing a presidential bid.

"One is not necessary and I don’t think we need to do it. We’ll see what the president lays out. That will be more dispositive,” Feinstein said of the national security speech Obama is expected to deliver Wednesday.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinA lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies President Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism MORE (D-Mich.) said congressional approval is not needed because the scope of the military campaign against ISIS is limited.

“It depends on the scale. If you talk about World War III, yes. If you’re talking about airstrikes, which are not even boots on the ground, I don’t think” Obama needs it, Levin said.

He said the 2003 invasion of Iraq needed an authorization because it involved 100,000 ground troops.

He said Muslim countries in the region that have a national security interest in defeating ISIS should provide ground troops to fight radical insurgents.

Rubio said he would vote for a use-of-force resolution but argued it is not needed.

“I would vote for it depending on how it’s structured but I don’t think [Obama] needs to” ask Congress for authority, he said. “I think he has authority to address the threat of ISIS.”

Rubio and other Republicans have called for Obama to lay out a clear strategy for defeating the militant Islamic movement and explain to the public why it is in the national interest to do so.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE (R-S.C.), another Republican who favors a muscular foreign policy approach, called the War Powers Act, which requires the president gain permission from Congress for military engagements extending beyond 90 days, unconstitutional.

“I think 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,” he said. “If Congress doesn’t like what he’s doing, we can always cut the money off.”

But other Democrats and Republicans are pressing for a vote this month on a resolution authorizing military strikes.

Sens. Tim KaineTimothy Michael KaineBooker tries to find the right lane  Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  GOP campaign committees call on Democrats to return Franken donations MORE (D-Va.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  MORE (D-Fla.) have been the most vocal proponents of Congress weighing in on the issue.

Nelson said an authorizing vote is inevitable but was unsure if it would happen before the midterm election. Vulnerable Democrats are worried about the potential political fallout.

“Sooner or later we will have a vote. I just don’t know if it’s in the next week and a half,” he said.

Nelson on Monday filed a resolution that authorizes airstrikes against ISIS but explicitly does not allow the deployment of ground troops.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress must end American support for Saudi war in Yemen Black men get longer prison sentences than white men for same crimes: study Sarah Palin on sexual harassment: 'People know I'm probably packing' so they 'don't mess with me' MORE (R-Ky.), another potential White House hopeful, said Obama would disrespect Congress’s constitutional power to declare war by not seeking approval from the legislative branch.

“It would show a disregard for the Constitution and for the history of our country,” he said.

He said his support for an ISIS resolution is contingent on how it is crafted.

“It depends on what the wording of it is. I’ve said I would support airstrikes but we should vote on it,” he said.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerBannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement' State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations panel, said Obama must seek approval to use force against ISIS because combat operations might last three years.

He said he has been pressing the administration to make its case to Congress so that it can win “buy-in” from lawmakers for strikes.

However, Corker said he has heard from sources in recent days that the president will not submit an authorization request.

Other lawmakers said they wanted to hear from the president before taking a position.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Judge declares mistrial in Menendez bribery case Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying MORE (D-N.J.) warned that past use-of-force resolutions have had unintended consequences because they previous administration interpreted them broadly.

“I want to see a strategy first. We should learn from the authorization for the use of military force on Sept. 11 and the Iraq one, which had many unintended consequences. People rushed into it. I’m not going to do that,” he said.

“I do want to see what the strategy is and what’s the breadth scope and length of what the president envisions and depending on that I may very well believe that we need an AUMF,” he added, referring to an authorization for the use of military force.

“Let see what the president has to say first on Wednesday night. I think it’s good that he’s presenting a plan,” said Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny Overnight Tech: Senate Dems want FCC chief recused from Sinclair merger | Tech rallies on Capitol Hill for DACA | Facebook beefs up lobbying ranks Facebook adds two lobbyists amid Russia probe MORE (D-Va.), who is running for reelection this year. 

— This story was updated at 7:38 p.m.