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Bill Would OK War Powers to Fight IS   01/28 06:11

   The top Democrat on the House intelligence panel is introducing a bill 
Wednesday to authorize President Barack Obama's war against Islamic State 
militants, saying Congress should not wait to see if the White House sends over 
its blueprint of what the legislation should say.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The top Democrat on the House intelligence panel is 
introducing a bill Wednesday to authorize President Barack Obama's war against 
Islamic State militants, saying Congress should not wait to see if the White 
House sends over its blueprint of what the legislation should say.

   Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he wants to spark the debate in the 
Republican-controlled Congress over a new authorization to fight IS, which has 
been fighting for territory in Iraq and Syria.

   "We're in what it seems is a never-ending game of who goes first in terms of 
putting a draft out there --- the White House or Congress?" Schiff said. "It's 
time we moved past this. ... I think the administration is reluctant to put 
something out there that's going to be shut down by House and Senate 
leadership."

   In the U.S. battle against IS, Obama has been relying on congressional 
authorizations that President George W. Bush used to justify military action 
after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Critics say the White House's 
use of post-9/11 congressional authorizations is a legal stretch, at best.

   Obama has insisted that he has the legal authority to send several thousand 
U.S. troops to train and assist Iraqi security forces, and to launch airstrikes 
against targets in Iraq and Syria since September. But he said in his State of 
the Union address that he wanted Congress to pass a new authorization.

   Schiff's bill would authorize the use of force against the Islamic State 
group in Iraq and Syria for three years, but prohibit the use of ground forces 
in a combat mission in either of the two nations.

   Those provisions conflict with what Secretary of State John Kerry said 
should be in any new authorization. He told the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee last month that any new authorization should not limit U.S. military 
action to just Iraq and Syria or prevent the president from deploying ground 
troops if he later deems them necessary. Kerry also said that if the new 
authorization had a time limit, there should be a provision for it to be 
renewed.

   Schiff acknowledged that his bill is not completely aligned with what the 
White House envisions. But he said that if the president later decided, for 
instance, to deploy ground troops, there is nothing that would preclude him 
from returning to Congress to ask for new authority to do that.


(KA)


 
 
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