More Members of Congress Request President Seek Authorization for Additional Islamic State Strikes

When Congress returns from its annual August, one of the most significant issues lawmakers will confront is whether they will vote to authorize additional strikes on the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, known also as ISIS or ISIL)—if the President seeks authorization at all. On Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama, speaking with reporters, refused to commit to seeking congressional authorization. He pledged to continue consulting with Congress, and once the Administration has finalized plans, decide whether formal authorization is necessary. “But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done”, the President said.

Although the President did not give an unqualified commitment to seeking congressional authorization, some Members of Congress have been vocal in pushing for a vote. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat of Virginia, has publicly said the legislature should weigh in on the matter.

On Wednesday, a group of Representatives sent the Speaker of the House, John Boehner of Ohio, a letter urging him to hold a debate on a use of force resolution. Republican Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democratic Representatives Barbara Lee of California and James McGovern of Massachusetts wrote, “These are serious matters that require congressional debate and a vote on whether to authorize them”. Additionally on Wednesday, Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on CNN that the President ought to receive authorization from Congress to pursue airstrikes in Syria.

On Thursday, Republican Representative Buck McKeon of California, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said that ISIS “must be defeated and destroyed” and that a “comprehensive approach may well require additional authorities from Congress, but speculation about that before the President has even offered a strategy is putting the cart before the horse.”

Although a number of Members of Congress have urged for a vote, not all see it as necessary. One Democrat, Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, said, “I see no reason to come to Congress because, if he does, it’ll just become a circus”.

Many say that Members of Congress would prefer avoiding a contentious vote on the matter in the run up to the midterm elections.

The Washington Post: Transcript: President Obama’s Aug. 28 Remarks on Ukrain, Syria, and the Economy

Associated Press: On Syria, Obama Faces Questions on Congress’ Role

New York Times: Lawmakers Want Congress to Decide on Military Action Against ISIS

Roll Call: Armed Services Chairman Calls for Strategy to Combat ISIS

Opinion: Libertarians, Conservatives Need to Defend Constitution Together

Conservatives and libertarians have typically been considered allies for the past couple decades, but today many question whether the two will remain united for much longer. Libertarians can’t abide the conservative focus on “social issues”, whereas conservatives view the libertarian penchant for radical autonomy warily. Despite this tension, D.C. McAllister writes, “If our liberties are to be protected, conservatives and libertarians must stand united on the principles of limited government.” The two factions must come together for a “constitutional moment”. James Madison believed that citizens must be virtuous—a point conservatives emphasize. But for “virtue” to be authentic, it must it must be freely chosen, so liberty must be fostered. However, modern liberalism, with its government interventions in the lives of citizens, diminishes both freedom and the potential for virtue. “Together, libertarians and conservatives need to be the rightful masters Abraham Lincoln spoke of, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution, ‘for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.’”

The Federalist: It’s Actually Time for a Constitutional Moment

Analysis: Is a Midterm Wave Coming?

The biggest electoral news story for this and last year has been about whether the Republicans will sweep into the Senate upon the crest of a wave. Despite this, some would dispute that we see solid evidence that a wave is materializing. Does that mean that it won’t happen? No, writes Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende, not by a long shot. First, it’s too early to say that it won’t be, since waves often become apparent closer to Election Day, say sometime in September or October. Additionally, Trende argues that statistics suggest that in some states, “Democrats have mostly exhausted those voters who approve of the job the president is doing. This leaves Democrats with an undecided electorate that overwhelmingly disapproves of the president.” Further, last year the Democratic candidates underperformed the President in special elections last year, and they are doing even worse this year. That being said, a Republican wave is not a forgone conclusion. “Regardless, the fact that we haven’t seen a massive wave yet isn’t particularly interesting. If a wave does materialize, we won’t have to look much further than evidence that is right in front of our noses today to explain why.”

RealClearPolitics: Will 2014 Midterms Be a Wave Election?

And for our latest post: Perry’s Veto Case: A New–and Potentially Dangerous–Form of Judicial Review?