WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House pushed back on Tuesday against House Speaker John Boehner who said that President Barack Obama should rip up his draft of new war powers to fight Islamic State militants and send Congress a new one.
Early this year, lawmakers asked Obama to send a draft of war powers he would like to see in a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Congress believes a new AUMF is needed because Obama is relying on war authorizations given to President George W. Bush after 9/11.
Boehner accused the president of having no strategy to fight IS and lamented the group’s weekend takeover of the strategic Iraqi city of Ramadi.
“The president’s request for an authorization of the use of military force calls for less authority than he has today,” Boehner said. “I just think, given the fight that we’re in, it’s irresponsible. This is why the president, frankly, should withdraw the authorization of the use of military force and start over.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest accused Congress of being “AWOL when it comes to the AUMF.”
He said the White House sent up its draft of new war powers in February and has held dozens of meetings about it with Democratic and Republican lawmakers and members of their staffs.
“At some point, it has to be the responsibility of the Speaker of the House to do his job and for members of Congress to do their job,” Earnest said. “And we have not seen members of Congress, and we certainly haven’t seen the Speaker of the House do his job when it comes to this specific matter.”
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said Boehner’s request is evidence that the House is avoiding a debate on the issue.
“After 10 months of the House avoiding the responsibility to even have any meaningful debate on the current war on IS, the Speaker’s plea for the president to submit a new authorization is clearly an admission that the House cannot initiate discussion of an issue of this magnitude,” Kaine said.
He said that means the Senate should take up the issue as soon as possible.
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