Congress Shows Little Interest in Voting on ISIS War

Plenty of Appetite for War, But Not for Defining It

Fear of the political fallout of a vote on the ISIS war kept any consideration of an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) before the mid-term election. With that over, the vote doesn’t seem much more likely now.

President Obama has given some lip-service to the idea of such a AUMF now, despite insisting for months he didn’t need or want one. Neither the lame duck Congress nor the incoming one seem interested now.

There’s plenty of appetite for the war, mind you, particularly within the hawkish incoming Senate. There’s also so much eagerness in expanding the scope of the war that no one wants to put down on paper exactly what the defined limits of the current war will be.

House Armed Services Chief Rep. Buck McKeon (R – CA) has vowed to block any AUMF that includes any limits on the use of ground troops for combat in Iraq or Syria, and many in the Senate are talking up expanding the war in any and every way possible.

With only a few in Congress pushing to insinuate themselves in the question of the war at all, it seems likely then that a bit more public debate will come, but without an actual vote.

In the interim, escalation and pushes for more escalation beyond that are to be expected, and by the time the war is big enough to placate the hawks that it is defined sufficiently, it will also be long beyond the issue of a vote.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of