Panel to vote on ISIS authorization next week

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hammer out a measure authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) next week, the panel decided on Thursday.


Under a compromise worked out between the panel’s leaders, Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezAs NFIP reauthorization deadline looms, Congress must end lethal subsidies Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7 Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-N.J.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.), the committee will hold a hearing next Monday featuring Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryWarren shows signs of broadening her base Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy The Memo: Democrats struggle to find the strongest swing-state candidate MORE or “whatever appropriate administration officials” lawmakers can get to start the process.

Menendez said that session would be followed a closed-door briefing on Tuesday. A full committee markup on an authorization on the use of military force (AUMF) would be held Wednesday.

He said that while the “normal course of events” would be to have the Obama administration send a proposal to lawmakers, the White House has yet to do so, adding that such inaction essentially amounts to a veto of any congressional actions.

Menendez urged administration aides who attended Thursday’s committee business meeting “to do whatever it takes to get witnesses here on Monday” and send whatever AUMF language the White House has on hand to lawmakers over the weekend.

The compromise is not sittting well with some panel members.

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (D-Conn.) labeled Monday’s hearing a “red herring” and predicted that any markup would be rife with partisanship.

Corker agreed, suggesting Democrats would seek a measure that prohibits troops on the ground. Menendez retorted that the GOP should expect opposition to authorization that appears “open-ended.”

Asked if there would be enough time for the full Senate to vote on an AUMF, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer Defense bill talks set to start amid wall fight MORE (R-Ky.) replied: “I do what I have control over. I have control over forcing a vote in the committee; I can’t force a vote on the floor. “

He added that “hopefully people are somewhat shamed, as well as the president, should be shamed into doing the right thing.”

Menendez said he was “doubtful” any eventual measure would get a full Senate vote.

He said he would urge Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBarr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks Harry Reid warns Trump 'can be reelected' Homeland Security Republican accuses Navy of withholding UFO info MORE (D-Nev.) to do so, but “whether he can get concurrence” from Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Liberal super PAC launches browser extension replacing 'Mitch McConnell' with 'Moscow Mitch' MORE (R-Ky.) is “another question.”

The timeline was worked out during an often heated meeting in which Paul planned to offer his proposal to formally declare war against the terror group as an amendment to a water bill. Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers Sen. Kaine: No reason for US to 'engage in military action to protect Saudi oil' MORE (D-Va.), another panel member who has been critical of his colleagues for not voting on an AUMF and has proposed an authorization of his own, was ready to second Paul’s amendment.

Paul’s measure would have given President Obama authority to go after ISIS but limited his power in terms of deploying ground troops. His amendment said ground forces could only be used to save service members, carry out operations against high-value targets or assist with “advisory and intelligence gathering operations.”

Republicans on the committee ripped Paul and Kaine’s approach.

Corker said ramming the measure through on the water legislation was “almost a scene in Mayberry” and repeated his arguments that the administration was not prepared to submit an authorization.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP Republicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years MORE (R-Wis.) said an AUMF deserves “thoughtful debate. This is not it.”

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE (R-Ariz.) said an authorization should come from the administration, rather than lawmakers “inventing it,” a subtle dig at Paul, who has clashed with the senior lawmaker on foreign policy and national security issues.

Paul said that the administration “might never be ready” to submit an AUMF but “that’s not an excuse for not voting.”

“Debate and talks are good, but votes are what count around here,” Paul added before agreeing to table his proposal.

After the meeting, Paul said he was unsure whether he had the votes to pass his declaration of war out of committee but predicted some authorization “would happen.”

“I’m satisfied that we’re going to get a vote. That’s all I wanted,” he told reporters. “I can’t ever guarantee victory, but I can guarantee we do our duty and our duty is to debate war and to vote on it.”

Meantime, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE (R-Ohio) on Thursday repeated his calls for the president to send an AUMF to the next Congress, when the Senate will also be under GOP control.

"The [current] strategy isn’t reversing the terrorists’ momentum on the ground. I’ve got great concerns the plan he’s put in place will not accomplish goal of defeating and destroying [ISIS]," he said during a press conference. " We need a more robust comprehensive strategy, and that should start with a new authorization for use of military force."

He said that he reminded Obama last month that "historically the commander in chief has identified the need for the use of military force, written a new AUMF, sen[t] it to Capitol Hill and work[ed] to build bipartisan support for that measure."

House Republicans "will be willing to work with him to get it approved," according to BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE. But "thus far we've seen no urgency on the part of this White House."