U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell opposes Obama’s request for new war powers in the battle against ISIS, according to a report issued Sunday. McConnell believes that a favorable vote would have a negative impact on the next president’s decisions on the matter.
President Barack Obama requested earlier last year an authorization to fight IS rebels on foreign land for three years. The authorization was supposed to be an approval by Congress to take the fight to countries that have close ties with the terrorist group.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration requested authorization only for small-scale ground operations. But the approval hasn’t been granted yet, as Republicans and Democrats in Congress failed to reach an agreement.
But McConnell’s opposition to President’s request was a surprise for House Republicans as some of them think the authorization is a good thing. For instance, House Speaker Paul Ryan now tries to persuade House Majority Leader and members of the Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the issue with other lawmakers.
Obama has hoped that Congress would grant him the authorization just as it did when George W. Bush was commander-in-chief and immediate action was needed to tackle the al-Qaida menace following the 9/11 attacks.
But the lawmakers who do not agree with the new plan are concerned that an approval would harm the support of their voters just as it happened to the promoters of the invasion of Iraq. Still, many members of Congress from both parties think that something needs to be done after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
McConnell does not want to give Obama new authority because he does not wish to ‘tie the hands of the next president,’ as he recently put it, who may try and fix the ‘mess’ generated by the lack of action in the past eight years.
Nevertheless, Ed Royce of the Foreign Affairs Committee has a different opinion. He believes that a new authorization would provide the next president with flexibility to fight off ISIS militants. Royce said that he would push for the new war powers, but President Obama has the last call on the matter. It is Obama who will have to lead, he added.