House Republicans moved closer Monday to fulfilling President Obama's request to give him the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels in his new war against the Islamic State.
The House could vote as soon as Wednesday on an amendment that would give the president temporary approval for the limited mission but explicitly withholds a broader war authorization that Obama has not sought.
Under the GOP leadership plan, the provision would be voted on as an amendment to a federal funding bill the House has to pass by the end of the month to avoid a government shutdown. By structuring the war language as an amendment, it would give lawmakers an opportunity to vote directly on Obama's ISIS plan rather than scheduling a single vote on the entire spending bill.
The Senate is expected to take up the measure soon after it passes the House, as both chambers want to get out of Washington and back to the campaign trail by the end of the week.
The authority the House would give Obama would go until Dec. 11, and a more permanent measure would be included in the annual Defense reauthorization bill that Congress passes, The Hill reported.
The proposal also requires the Department of Defense to report to Congress on the progress of the military effort every 90 days.
Yet perhaps the most notable section of the seven-page amendment is the following, which makes clear that if Obama wants a broader authorization of force from Congress, he'll have to send a separate request:
Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances."
The White House has argued that Obama retains authority to go after terrorists militarily under authorizations Congress passed more than a decade ago in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But many lawmakers want to debate a new war authorization after the November elections.
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