Debate over authorizing force against ISIS to hit House floor

A senior House Democrat plans to offer an amendment to the annual defense spending bill this week to force Congress to vote on authorizing military force against the Islamic State.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is among the lawmakers who have criticized Congress for failing to take up President Obama’s draft authorization of military force (AUMF).

Schiff’s amendment would require Congress to debate and vote on an AUMF within 180 days, or about six months. It would further prohibit funds in the defense appropriations bill to be used for the Pentagon military campaign to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as Operation Inherent Resolve, unless Congress passes an AUMF that authorizes it.


President Obama sent Congress a draft authorization of military force (AUMF) earlier this year. But it has since stalled because it appears to lack votes from both parties. 


Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last month that Obama should withdraw the AUMF and "start over."


The House will begin debate on the defense appropriations bill Wednesday afternoon. Final passage is not expected until Thursday at the earliest, though it could be pushed to Friday depending on the number of amendments offered.


Timing for debate on Schiff’s amendment will be contingent upon how quickly the House progresses through debate, though it appears most likely to be on Thursday.


As with other appropriations bills, the defense measure will be considered under a freewheeling process that allows lawmakers to offer an unlimited number of amendments. That’s how an amendment as politically thorny as Schiff’s will get debate time on the House floor.


The House is expected to be in session past midnight Wednesday - and possibly Thursday - debating amendments to the defense spending measure.

Source: The Hill