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 RyanHouse Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea Duncan Hunter pleads guilty after changing plea Trump campaign steps up attacks on Biden 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 WelchProviding more information on the prescription drug supply chain will help lower costs for all Impeachment hearing breaks into laughter after Democrat contrasts it to Hallmark movie Diplomat ties Trump closer to Ukraine furor MORE (D-Vt.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Justin AmashJustin AmashGroup of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Mich.), Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware House passes anti-robocall bill Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul 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 GaramendiBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Krystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment of Trump resumes MORE (D-Calif.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Sen. John Kennedy: Americans 'deserve some answers' on Epstein's death Gosar leaves message in tweets: 'Epstein didn't kill himself' 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 SalmonArizona voters like Kyl but few think he'll stick around Former Sen. Jon Kyl to replace McCain in Senate Arizona governor faces pressure over McCain replacement 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 YohoGOP's Yoho announces retirement from Congress Haley: Giuliani should've been named 'special envoy' to Ukraine GOP lawmakers express concerns about Giuliani's work in Ukraine MORE (R-Fla.), and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).

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