Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Global Impact: President Obama Briefs Congressional Leaders on Plan He Will Unveil on September 10

According to The Associated PressPresident Barack Obama told congressional leaders on Tuesday (September 9) that he has the "authority he needs to take action" against the IS extremist group, suggesting he wouldn't ask for authorization for the use of force against the group in the near-term.

"The President told congressional leaders that he has the authority he needs to take action against IS in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address  tomorrow  night [September 10]," the White House said in a statement.
The President said he would welcome action by Congress in working together to combat IS that would aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat from IS. The President and his team look forward to continuing extensive consultation with Congress."
There has not been consensus in Congress about whether President Obama should seek authorization for an expansion of military action against IS. Many members of Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have said the President should seek congressional approval. 
COMMENT: President Obama worst decision-making deficiencies is in being too cautious in rendering time-sensitive, military-driven choices, which is one reason why the Islamic State (IS) has become so strong and successful in a very short period of time. 
Other congressional leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have remained silent re: their thoughts about authorization. 
Multiple House and Senate aides have signaled there might be little appetite for Congress to vote on military action, which could prove to be a political liability later on, particularly in an election year. 
After Obama's meeting with leadership on Tuesday, an  aide to Boehner said the speaker expressed support for certain options currently under consideration, including boosting the Iraqi Security Forces and training and equipping moderate elements of the Syrian opposition.  Boehner also told Obama he would support the deployment of US forces to help train and advise the ISF, as well as assist with "lethal targeting of IS leadership."
" The Speaker made it clear that IS is preparing to fight us, and that as we learned in Syria, the longer we wait, the more difficult our choices become," the aide said. "It is in the best interests of the United States and our allies to put in place a strategy that rises to the challenge of the threat we face, and takes the fight directly to IS in a decisive fashion."View gallery
Obama congressional leaders ISIS
The 1973 War Powers Resolution specifies the president must consult with Congress before deploying US forces into hostile situations.  The resolution gives the president a 60-day window to carry out military operations before coming to Congress for approval.
Whether or not it gets a crack at authorization, Congress would have to approve any new funding for operations. The White House has begun a push for Congress to approve a $5 billion counter-terrorism fund that could aid in operations against IS.
The Obama Administration could argue congressional approval of such funding would fulfill the requirement of congressional authorization. It's a strategy that has precedent--the Clinton Administration used congressional approval of defense-related funding to justify continued military action in Kosovo. 
"Tonight you will hear from the President how the United States will pursue a comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy IS, including US military action and support for the forces combating IS on the ground--both the opposition in Syria and a new, inclusive Iraqi government," a White House official said. 
"The President will discuss how we are building a coalition of allies and partners in the region and in the broader international community to support our efforts, and will talk about how we work with the Congress as a partner in these efforts."