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Lawmakers urge Ryan to allow ISIS war vote

Lawmakers urge Ryan to allow ISIS war vote
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is urging newly minted Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (R-Wis.) to schedule a vote on authorizing U.S. troops to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

Thirty-five House members — including liberals, GOP leadership allies and members of the conservative Freedom Caucus — banded together in a Friday letter to Ryan asking for a vote.

The letter comes a week after President Obama announced plans to send up to 50 special operations troops to Syria to advise opposition militants in the region. It will mark the first time American troops are stationed in Syria since the U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS began last year.

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"We do not share the same policy prescriptions for U.S. military engagement in the region, but we do share the belief that it is past time for the Congress to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution and vote on an AUMF that clearly delineates the authority and limits, if any, on U.S. military engagement in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region," the lawmakers wrote.

Congress in September 2014 approved legislation authorizing a $500 million program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels. Lawmakers pledged they would take up a formal authorization for use of military force (AUMF) upon returning to Washington after the midterm elections. But the support never coalesced on Capitol Hill to pass a measure, even after the Obama administration sent a draft proposal in February.

Most recently, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) forced a vote in June on a resolution that would have required the president to remove troops within six months. But the House resoundingly defeated it 139-288, effectively voting to keep troops fighting ISIS despite the absence of an AUMF.

The Obama administration has been using the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars as its legal basis for the military campaign against ISIS. 

"Consistent with your pledge to return to regular order, we urge you to direct the committees of jurisdiction to draft and report out an AUMF as soon as possible," the lawmakers implored Ryan. "We do not believe in the illusion of a consensus authorization, something that only happens rarely."

A Ryan spokeswoman indicated that the Obama administration should offer lawmakers more detailed information before the House moves forward on any legislative action.

"Members need to be briefed on the specifics of the new actions taken by the administration before making any further decisions," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.

The 35 lawmakers on the letter were McGovern and Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary MORE (D-Vt.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Justin AmashJustin AmashIncoming GOP lawmaker shares video of hotel room workout, citing 'Democrat tyrannical control' Rundown of the House seats Democrats, GOP flipped on Election Day Romney congratulates Biden after victory MORE (R-Mich.), Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessLawmakers push for improved diabetes care through tech advancements Overnight Health Care: Schumer, Pelosi want Heroes Act as 'starting point' in new COVID-19 relief talks | Labs warn of possible delays in test results amid surge in demand | Federal government partners with pharmacies for coronavirus vaccine distribution Overnight Health Care: COVID-19 cases rising in every state | Wisconsin health official warns state nearing 'tipping point' | Fauci predicts data from Moderna vaccine within a week MORE (R-Texas), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), John Culberson (R-Texas), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiWuhan is the final straw: The world needs to divest from China GOP seizes on 'defund the police' to galvanize base Peace Corps faces uncertain future with no volunteers in field MORE (D-Calif.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDemocrat O'Halleran wins reelection in Arizona House race Lil Jon slams Paul Gosar: 'Don't quote my songs' Hundreds of Trump supporters protest election results in Pennsylvania MORE (R-Ariz.), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonCOVID-19's class divide creates new political risks Arizona voters like Kyl but few think he'll stick around Former Sen. Jon Kyl to replace McCain in Senate MORE (R-Ariz.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.), Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoHere are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year Ocasio-Cortez after Yoho confrontation: 'I won't be so nice next time' Overnight Defense: US, India to share satellite data | Allegations of racism at Virginia Military Institute | Navy IDs 2 killed in Alabama plane crash MORE (R-Fla.), and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).

This story was updated at 5:11 p.m.