Defense

Kaine again presses for ISIS war vote

Greg Nash

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Thursday Congress is failing in its duties by allowing President Obama to use military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without a vote.

“The Congress hasn’t even done the job we’re supposed to do by the Constitution,” Kaine said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“We are not supposed to be at war, in a declared war, on the say so of a president without a congressional vote, and this is a very dangerous thing — very disrespectful of the troops that we’re asking to risk our lives,” he added.

Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it was essential lawmakers formally declared war on ISIS so that U.S. “allies, adversaries and troops know Congress supports this mission.”

{mosads}Their stalling on a resolution authorizing the use of military force (AUMF), he said, reflected poorly on how the United States depicts its fight with the terrorist group.

“[Obama] had congressional leadership telling him we don’t want to talk about this before the midterms,” Kaine said.

“Once the midterms were over, though, it was up to Congress to take this matter up,” he added.

He noted, one day before the 10-month mark on the anti-ISIS bombing campaign, that neither the House nor the Senate had considered an AUMF in formal debate.

The Virginia lawmaker has long championed passing an AUMF in both chambers. He clashed with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last month over whether the proposed resolution had flat-lined.

“I do not see a path to 218 with what the president sent up because the world has become more dangerous since he laid out Yemen as the strategy of how to move forward,” McCarthy said on April 13 of the votes needed for the measure to clear his chamber.

“This would weaken our ability to respond to our current situation,” he said of the proposal.

“I’ve always assumed that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen in the Senate and then go to the House,” Kaine retorted on April 15.

The AUMF has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle over its use of the phrase “enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

Conservatives have argued this clause in the resolution would hinder military commanders from exercising their full range of combat options against ISIS.

Liberals have countered that the passage’s vagueness could justify U.S. military operations in the Middle East with no definitive end in sight.

Tags Kevin McCarthy Tim Kaine

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