Senate avoids debating an AUMF to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria

us-forces-afghanistan-AP-640x480In an earlier post, Congress once again abdicates its war powers, I told you about Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) having introduced a measure that would authorize military force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 10 Months Into War Against Isil, Kaine & Flake Introduce Bipartisan Authorization For Use Of Military Force (Press Release).

The senators have been trying to attach their bill as an amendment to appropriations bills, without success.

The Senators again failed to get their Senate colleagues to perform their constitutional duty on Thursday. Roll Call reports, Senate Dodges ISIS War Debate:

Senators managed to duck a war debate Thursday while passing the National Defense Authorization Act and then immediately filibustering the Defense spending bill.

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Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., joined with Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona on one such proposal to push for an authorization for the use of force against the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“Flake and I had an amendment to express the sense of the Senate that there should be an AUMF, and the amendment was ruled — of all things — non-germane,” Kaine said. “Even though we’re voting on barracks, mold and vehicle rust, it was ruled non-germane. But, we are taking it up in Foreign Relations next week.”

Kaine was echoing comments he also made on the Senate floor ahead of the vote on the defense authorization.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., who had filed an amendment to provide a sunset for the original Authorization for the Use of Military Force that came into law in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, said the members of the Foreign Relations panel were still seeking consensus.

“I think what we’re trying to do is have some discussions among the members of the committee to see whether there is a path forward. I think there is general agreement that Congress should have passed authorization, but there’s no, yet, consensus as to what this should include,” Cardin told CQ Roll Call. “I’m not sure we’re there yet. I’m not sure we’ll get there. We’re having those discussions.”

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy wants to see a full debate on restricting the use of ground troops to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, particularly in the event a Republican wins the presidency in the 2016 election, but he conceded the vehicles for floor action may be few and far between.

“The leverage points are atrophying by the day,” the Connecticut Democrat said. “There’s only so many way to force a debate on either an AUMF or a limitation on combat troops. You know, I think our eggs are increasingly in the Foreign Relations Committee basket now.”

“I’m flexible on how we write a troop limitation. My amendment is my preferred version, but I understand that there might be a different version that could get more bipartisan support,” Murphy said.

 Congress continues to abdicate its war powers under the Constitution, and is refusing to do its constitutional duty. I am amazed at the lack of editorial opinion on this subject from mainstream media publications.

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