Sen. Cardin 'not optimistic' about authorizing war against ISIS

Sen. Cardin 'not optimistic' about authorizing war against ISIS
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was not optimistic that Congress could pass an authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). 

“I am not optimistic that we will be able to achieve a successful completion on an authorization for use of military force” said Cardin during a breakfast briefing hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. 

“I think it’s a very tough road,” he said. 

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His comments come a day after the White House and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) traded barbs over the lack of progress on an AUMF, nine months into the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS that has seen more than 3,000 troops deployed to Iraq. 

Boehner called on the administration to “start over” and send over a new request, after the one he sent in February was panned by both Republicans and Democrats. 

That request would authorize force against ISIS for three years, cancel the 2002 AUMF for the Iraq War and ban “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” 

Republicans argue that proposal would limit the president’s authority to go after ISIS, but Democrats say boundaries are necessary so as not to end up in another Middle East ground war. 

Cardin said he was particularly concerned about the Obama administration’s broad interpretation in using the 2001 AUMF for the Afghanistan War to go after ISIS, and said that it should be repealed. 

“There is a risk factor today that this administration has interpreted the 2001 AUMF as broadly as they have,” he said. 

Cardin said the administration has expressed willingness to him that they would be willing to agree to a repeal of the 2001 authorization. 

He also said he agreed with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that if Congress could not pass an AUMF, then it should not even try. 

“If we can’t get it done, we’re better off not moving forward until we have a [reasonable] chance of moving forward,” he said.