Congress Locked in ISIS War Muddle

Posted September 11, 2014 at 9:13am

President Barack Obama’s prime-time ISIS war speech Wednesday night came as congressional leaders — and a restive rank and file — continued to wrestle with what role, if any, they should play, Roll Call reports.  

While the president asserted to congressional leaders he didn’t need their authorization to take on and destroy the Islamic State group, Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and administration officials were also personally calling members of Congress ahead of the speech to explicitly authorize arming and training Syrian rebels, known as Title 10 authority, as part of the unrelated continuing resolution needed to fund the government past Sept. 30.  

The push would put Congress on record for a significant piece of the president’s strategy — but accountability isn’t necessarily what lawmakers want to own heading into the midterm elections. An undercurrent of the tense debate is that the four congressional leaders have been singing different tunes, although they all ostensibly support taking on ISIS, also known as ISIL.  

Republicans announced plans late Wednesday to punt the CR another week to give members more time to review the president’s request.