Lawmakers offer bills authorizing use of military force against ISIS

Lawmakers in the House and Senate on Monday introduced separate bills authorizing military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Democratic Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups How Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA MORE (Fla.) and Republican Rep. Frank WolfFrank Rudolph WolfDOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling Vulnerable Republican keeps focus as Democrats highlight Trump Bolton could be the first national security chief to prioritize religious freedom MORE (Va.) offered the bills.

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Nelson’s bill would give President Obama congressional authority to order airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but it limits the authority to three years.

It also states the authority would not allow the president to deploy ground troops as part of the effort.

“This is a barbaric group that’s committed heinous acts of torture and murder, and we have to go after them now — not only in Iraq, but in Syria as well,” Nelson said in a statement.

Wolf’s bill would allow the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force” against terrorist groups including ISIS. 

The Republican’s bill does not forbid the use of ground troops and includes no time element.

The bills are the first congressional action taken on authorizing the president's use of force against ISIS since lawmakers returned from a five-week recess on Monday. 

Lawmakers are receiving briefings from administration and intelligence officials this week, as the president prepares to unveil his strategy against ISIS on Wednesday.

The president first authorized military strikes in Iraq against ISIS on Aug. 7. He said the strikes were meant to protect U.S. personnel and property as ISIS forces were advancing toward the U.S Consulate in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital in Iraq.

Airstrikes have also been authorized to help Iraqi forces recapture and hold Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters, who officials said could use the dam to cut off electricity and water to much of Iraq, or flood Baghdad. 

The president also authorized strikes during a humanitarian airdrop of supplies to the Shiite Turkmen in Amerli and conducted more strikes over the weekend to help Iraqi forces hold the Haditha Dam. 

The U.S. has conducted more than 140 strikes against ISIS so far, but none yet in Syria. It’s possible that Obama will announce strikes against the terrorist group in that country on Wednesday, despite the chance it could help Syrian President Bashar Assad cling to power. 

Updated at 2:59 p.m.