Senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul has introduced a new bill to declare war on ISIS, the militant group that has been terrorizing large swaths of Iraq and Syria. The Republican’s proposal would replace a decade-old authorization for the use of military force, passed after the September 11 attacks, that the administration has been using to justify air strikes in Syria until now.
“I believe the President must come to Congress to begin a war and that Congress has a duty to act,” Paul said. “Right now, this war is illegal until Congress acts pursuant to the Constitution and authorizes it.” Staffers added that Paul will try to smuggle it through with the upcoming vote on the National Defense Authorization Act. This would be the first formal authorization of war since World War II.
Obama himself showed intent to seek more formal congressional permission for actions against ISIS just last month, when he announced that he will ask for a new authorization for the use of military force for the ongoing actions in Iraq and Syria. “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,” he said, stopping short of calling the ongoing U.S. involvement in Syria illegal.
A Democratic congressman has even already introduced such a bill in the House. Odds are, however, that none of these bills will pass, and that Congress will go on break still mired in partisan squabbling.