House Dem leader fine with lame-duck vote authorizing force against ISIS

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House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerVulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — House Dems charge Trump with abuse, obstruction of Congress in impeachment articles Hoyer predicts impeachment vote next week MORE (D-Md.) on Monday said he’d have no problem with a lame-duck Congress voting to authorize military force against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters.

In an interview with The Hill, the second-ranking House Democrat said lame-duck lawmakers — those in session after the midterm elections take place but before new members are sworn in — are just as eligible to vote as members of the new Congress, which will take office in January.  

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“I think the overwhelming majority of people who would vote on that would be members of the 113th and the 114th Congress,” Hoyer said. “These are, after all, people who have been elected for 24 months, not for 23 months or 22 months. So I think they have as much of a responsibility.

“Should we tell people who are retiring that they're not going to vote in a regular session as opposed to a lame duck because they're not going to be back and be held accountable? I think the answer to that is no,” Hoyer added.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE (Ohio) and other Republicans have argued a vote should not be held in a lame-duck session because it is too important an issue to give to lawmakers with one foot out the door.

The debate over a new authorization comes ahead of an election in which Republicans hope to take back the Senate majority. If the GOP wins back the Senate, putting off an authorization vote until the new Congress convenes would give the party more leverage.

Boehner on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that he’d be happy to have Congress return before the midterm elections to vote on military authorization if Obama requests it.

Hoyer said he didn’t think that was necessary, because Obama has the authority to launch airstrikes against ISIS under the 2001 and 2002 authorizations of military force Congress approved as part of the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

He also said lawmakers should use their time now to talk to constituents about the issue.

“I don't think there's a necessity to come back,” Hoyer said. “Secondly, I think it's useful to listen to the American people during the course of this election. All of the members are out and about. They're talking to the American people.”

Hoyer said he expected the lame-duck session to at least begin the debate on a new authorization of force.

“I don't have any problem having it considered in a lame-duck session, or initiate debate in the lame-duck session and be completed in the next Congress,” Hoyer said.

“I certainly think we'll initiate discussions,” Hoyer added. “I think it's the responsibility of Congress to address this again.”