Democrat seeks to force vote on authorizing force against ISIS

Democrat seeks to force vote on authorizing force against ISIS
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A senior House Democrat plans to offer an amendment to the annual defense spending bill this week to force Congress to vote on authorizing military force against the Islamic State.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan House Intelligence enjoys breakthrough with Justice Department Schiff blasts Trump's 'un-American' order to intel agencies to cooperate with Barr probe MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is among the lawmakers who have criticized Congress for failing to take up President Obama’s draft authorization of military force (AUMF).

Schiff’s amendment would require Congress to debate and vote on an AUMF within 180 days, or about six months. It would further prohibit funds in the defense appropriations bill to be used for the Pentagon military campaign to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as Operation Inherent Resolve, unless Congress passes an AUMF that authorizes it.

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Obama sent Congress a draft AUMF earlier this year. But it has since stalled because it appears to lack votes from both parties. While Democrats fear the request is too-open ended, Republicans think the proposal places too many limits upon the use of force.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last month that Obama should withdraw the AUMF and "start over."

The White House has dismissed Boehner's suggestion of sending Congress another draft AUMF.

"At some point, the Speaker of the House needs to take responsibility for fulfilling the basic duty of the United States Congress, and that is when it comes to these kinds of matters, Congress should have a voice. And Congress, frankly, shouldn't be ducking the debate," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The House will begin debate on the defense appropriations bill Wednesday afternoon. Final passage is not expected until Thursday at the earliest, though it could be pushed to Friday depending on the number of amendments offered.

Timing for consideration of Schiff’s amendment will be contingent upon how quickly the House progresses through debate, though it appears most likely to be Thursday.

As with other appropriations bills, the defense measure will be considered under a freewheeling process that allows lawmakers to offer an unlimited number of amendments. That’s how an amendment as politically thorny as Schiff’s will get debate time on the House floor.

The House is expected to be in session past midnight Wednesday — and possibly Thursday — debating amendments to the defense spending measure.

This story was updated at 4:32 p.m.

Jordan Fabian contributed.