The question of the authorization of the use of military force against ISIS continues to grow, and is setting the stage for a significant battle in the Senate, both against President Obama’s unilateralism and among various levels of hawk inside the Senate itself.
Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY), who has made clear that he supports the ISIS conflict in general, has been pushing for some clear definitions of the scope of the conflict, and is trying to force an authorization vote on a bill that included some clear limits on the use of ground troops.
President Obama has supported Congressional authorization only in the broadest terms, and insists he has the authority to launch the war all by himself. He’s also been resistant to bills that try to hold him to the limits he insists are already in place on the war.
The move also infuriated Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), who called any limits to the use of ground troops or the length of the war “crazy.” McCain is among the incoming Senate’s top leaders, who are generally in favor of an open-ended conflict, and hope to press the president to escalate the war faster than he already is.
The question of a vote at all centers for many on the ever-increasing presidential powers, with Sen. Christopher Murphy (D – CT) warning that “the executive gets more powerful the more dysfunctional Congress gets.”
We’re already three months into the ISIS war, so in many people’s eyes, but many in Congress sought to avoid any vote before the November elections. Now that they’ve passed, the war is already established policy, and one that little debate seems likely to occur over.