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Thornberry: ‘Important to try’ to get an ISIS war powers resolution

Thornberry: ‘Important to try’ to get an ISIS war powers resolution

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryUnnamed law enforcement banned under the new NDAA Lobbying world Senate poised to override Trump's defense bill veto MORE (R-Texas) says Congress should still try to come up with an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that targets the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Thornberry also backed comments by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that the war powers resolution President Obama sent to Capitol Hill months ago could not pass the chamber.

“We had several hearings on it, and I do think the House has moved on from the president’s proposal,” Thornberry said. “I don’t believe many people are standing up saying, ‘Yeah, this is the right answer.’ ”

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He said the question then becomes, “Is there a proposal that could get to 218 votes? I believe that it’s important to try. But I don’t know the answer to the question, whether there is an AUMF that could get that majority.”

Obama’s resolution hit a bipartisan brick wall shortly after it was submitted to lawmakers.

Republicans complained that language restricting “enduring offensive ground combat operations” could tie the hands of military commanders, while critics on the left said the same language could lead to another open-ended U.S. ground presence in Middle East.

Thornberry argued lawmakers should attempt to rekindle the AUMF debate because he is “concerned” about the “institutional interest here, as well as the moral backing for missions that we send the troops out on.”

However, he wouldn’t speculate where a successful war powers resolution might originate, be it from an individual member, at the committee level or from the House or Senate.

“The question is not so much where it comes from but what it gets to, back to the votes deal,” Thornberry said.