Kaine: 'Shameful' Congress hasn't taken ISIS war vote
© Greg Nash

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate Democrats ramp up push to limit Biden's war powers Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force MORE (D-Va.) slammed his colleagues on Monday, arguing they are sidestepping a vote on the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because they are worried about the potential political fallout. 

"Members of Congress have chosen to avoid a vote on the theory that either a yes or a no vote carries political risk. In my view, that is a shameful abdication of responsibility," Kaine said during his commencement speech at the Virginia Military Institute. 
 
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He added that it is "immoral to continue sending Americans into war if we are unwilling to vote to support that war." 
 
Kaine's comments come as a group of House lawmakers plan to use an annual defense policy bill to try to force a debate on an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS. They likely face an uphill battle to get a vote, with previous attempts to use the National Defense Authorization Act as a vehicle to force a war debate falling short. 
 
Despite public pressure from the Obama administration, authorizing the war against ISIS has failed to gain momentum in Congress. 

Kaine has been a chief proponent for Congress to take up an ISIS-specific war bill, but a proposal he offered last year with Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Republican reactions to Cheney's removal Flake: No greater offense than honesty in today's Republican Party Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (R-Ariz.) hasn't gotten a hearing or a vote. A separate wide-ranging measure from Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood causes headache for GOP in key S.C. race GOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP MORE (R-S.C.) was placed on the Senate calendar in January but isn't currently expected to be taken up.

Kaine warned Monday that in addition to sending a negative signal to troops, the current legislative stalemate could set a "dangerous precedent." 
 
"It's not hard to imagine that a future president will use this example to also justify initiating war without the permission of Congress," he said.