The House of Representatives led by the Republicans has rejected an amendment to the Defense bill on Thursday, a day after President Barack Obama ordered 450 troops in Iraq. The bill would have forced legislators to vote on Authorization of Use of Military Force against Islamic State.
The amendment proposed by Democrat Representative Adam Schiff has been rejected with a vote of 231 to 196, with a majority vote from Republicans.
The amendment was supposed to make Congress debate and vote on a new official authorization of use of military force by the 31st of March, 2016, which means a prohibition of using the funds of the 2016 defense appropriations bill for air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Only a formal authorization passed by Congress would have been able to do so.
Republicans have criticized President Obama on having a passive role in his foreign policy and tried to urge him to take measures against the Islamic State, that are more extreme than the ones Obama has proposed. The GOP attacked Obama on abusing his constitutional powers using the 2001 AUMF that covers his actions and in February, he has asked Congress to pass an authorization for the use of military force, even thought he stands on his decision that he does not need it.
This rejection comes only a day after Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 450 American troops in order to advice and assist the Iraqi military and train them in tactics of attack to reclaim the lost cities in Anbar to the Islamic State.
According to Reuters, the bill’s proponent, Adam Schiff, has stated that “If we are going to ask our service members to risk their own lives, we ought to have the courage ourselves to take a vote on this war.” He made the remark of calculating whether this is worth in the fight against ISIS, and if it is, the Congress should also do its job where it is due.
Schiff has also mentioned that he and his fellow Democrats will not rest until the Congress has fulfilled its duties and will urge for a new Authorization on the Use of Military Force, stating that he does not wish to see another setback for Congress. The deployment of 450 troops should also be another sign of a necessary debate for authorization inside Congress.
This shows the lack of political will of both Houses of Congress to amend the defense spending bill and a refusal to take responsibility to declare war and to authorize the use of military force by the Congress is a sign that Congressmen are trying to change war powers and push them towards the executive branch of government.