Speaker John A. Boehner thinks Congress should debate authorizing use of force against the Islamic State in Syria — but not until new members of the House and Senate take office in January.
The Ohio Republican told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday morning the lame-duck session following the midterms in November would not be an appropriate time to make those decisions.
“Doing this with the whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” Boehner told the Times.
That statement is sure to rankle many members on both sides of the aisle who had hoped the House would weigh in as soon as possible on President Barack Obama’s decision to use airstrikes to target the terrorist organization, also known as ISIS or ISIL. In fact, some members earlier this week demanded that House leadership cancel the seven-week recess to return to Capitol Hill to debate the matter.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking member on the Budget Committee and a de facto member of Democratic leadership, tweeted that Boehner should call back the House to debate a formal Authorization to Use Military Force. Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan agreed, also taking to Twitter to call the recess “irresponsible and immoral,” given the new developments.
Before Congress adjourned, it passed a continuing resolution containing authority for the administration to train and equip Syrian moderates to fight the Islamic State, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said he expected the lame-duck session to be consumed with hearings, debates and votes on authorizing military action.
The majority of Democrats in particular, Hoyer said, “believe that we ought to have a vote before the end of the year on the authority of the use of military force, so the Congress can speak and represent the views of the American people in that regard.”
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