10.28.14

Wall Street Journal: Foreign Policy Crises to Confront Lawmakers in Lame Duck

Michael R. Crittenden of The Wall Street Journal reports on the foreign policy challenges that Congress faces:

Lawmakers who have spent the last six weeks focused on getting re-elected will have to quickly reorient once they return to Washington to address a host of major foreign policy challenges that could dominate the lame duck session.

“We have a long list of vital national security issues to take up that is inverse to the amount of time we have to do it,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.). “Whether we can overcome the desire to get out of Dodge will remain to be seen.”

Another foreign policy flash point will be the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, particularly the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. The House and Senate avoided a broader debate on the issue in September, instead authorizing for three months a program to arm and train Syrian rebels.

Members of both parties have said they want to play a greater role in determining the scope of the U.S. strategy in the region, opening the door for Congress to debate an authorization for the use of military force during the lame duck. Mr. Schiff has been among those arguing that Congress can’t duck its constitutional responsibility to authorize U.S. military operations.

“It sets a dangerous precedent and I think it’s a terrible abdication” if Congress doesn’t vote on an authorization, Mr. Schiff said.

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By:  Michael R. Crittenden
Source: Wall Street Journal