10 months into the US war on ISIS, the chances of getting an actual Congressional vote on the conflict looks less likely than ever, with Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D – CA) amendment getting voted down today in the House 231-196, in a vote strongly along party lines.
The amendment wouldn’t have offered any guidance on the war itself, but would simply have required that the House have a vote on the authorization of the war at some point before March 31 of next year. Having failed, they appear set not to have a vote on the war at all.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 forbids the US from entering any armed conflict longer than 60 days without an explicit vote authorizing it from Congress. This timeline would’ve put the vote ahead of the mid-term elections, however, so Congressional leaders decided to punt the controversial issue down the road.
Months after the election, however, the White House finally got around to proposing an AUMF for the war, but publicly bragged it was so deliberately vague as to allow them to do whatever they wanted. Controversy surrounding that left that version of the authorization basically dead on arival.
Still, the war continued, and while there has been occasional talk about some other authorization with some actual limits in it, it’s never really gotten very far, and officials seem by and large content to continue the war for years on end without Congress having any say at all.