After months of resistance, President Obama announced Wednesday that he would ask Congress for a separate authorization to use military force against the terrorist group ISIS before the new Republicans arrive. Previously, the president relied on legislation created after the September 11 attacks.
The move comes a day after Democrats suffered brutal losses in the midterm elections and lost control of the Senate. Getting the authorization in now, it seems, may be easier than waiting until after there are far more hostile Republicans to negotiate with.
“It makes sense to make sure the authorization from Congress reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward,” Obama said. A new authorization will ensure he has a more iron-clad permission slip going forward, instead of relying on invitations from Iraqi leaders and decade-old legislation for the rapidly expanding conflict.
As for whether we’re actually making progress in the Middle East, Obama said it’s “too early to say.”