Should Congress Authorize Air Strikes in Syria?
Posted at 2:14 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2014
Kaine, at an April Senate Foreign Relations hearing. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call)
A pair of senior senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee want President Barack Obama to come to Congress for authorization of any air strikes in Syria targeting the group popularly known as ISIS, which has made big gains in Iraq. Others? Not so interested in Congress getting involved.
CQ’ Roll Call’s Jonathan Broder has the story about the two senior senators, for CQ subscribers:
In separate remarks over the past two days, Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia, chairman of the panel’s Middle East Subcommittee, and Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee’s ranking Republican, said existing authorizations for the use of force that were passed after the 2001 terror attack and before the Iraq war were no longer suitable to address the threat posed by the Islamic State, also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
Broder’s story delves deeper into their arguments about the possible air strikes against ISIS, another name for the group.
On the other side of the debate, BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray and Kate Nocera tracked down some lawmakers who aren’t as eager to get Congress to weigh in, with Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., noting that the “circumstances are different entirely” than the last time Obama was contemplating action in Syria and there was more enthusiasm for getting Obama to seek congressional approval. (That enthusiasm was not unanimous — some thought, even then, that Obama should have acted on his own.)
“There’s a reticence on our part to readily say that [Obama] should just do what comes instinctive to him because it’s nearly always wrong,” said Republican Rep. Trent Franks…. “However, when we see a demonstrated monstrous enemy like ISIS that is murdering and beheading its way across Iraq then of course we have a different perspective of trying to get this president to respond.”
For its part, the administration is playing it coy on whether it would seek congressional approval if it should go beyond the current drone surveillance flights over Syria — although it asserts the right to act on its own.