Obama soon to ask Congress for ISIS war authority
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six months after U.S. military action began against ISIS, the White House is poised to send Congress language to formally authorize the mission.
Several congressional sources tell CNN the President will send a proposed authorization for use of force to Capitol Hill as soon as Wednesday.
The biggest flashpoint in the debate over this authorization will be on the question of ground troops.
In December, the then-Democratic led Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed an authorization of force that banned the use of U.S. ground troops, except in only in very limited circumstances, such as rescue missions.
Democratic sources tell CNN the White House proposal is expected to be restrictive on the issue of U.S. boots on the ground.
When the mission first began in August, the White House insisted the President already had the legal authority without congressional action.
But lawmakers in both parties demanded that Congress have a say in debating and approving the mission. The White House eventually relented but, with the fall midterm elections looming and Democrats up against the political wall, Obama officials decided to wait until the new Congress was sworn in.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, is an Obama ally but was outspoken early on the need for Congress to debate and authorize the mission against ISIS, and has been openly frustrated about the White House dragging its feet.
\"I'll tell you what offends me about this. We've already lost American service members lives in this operation and we've done it without Congress being willing to do the job of having a vote. If we're going to ask people to risk their lives, then Congress ought to do our job and put our thumb print on this mission and say, it is in the national interest,\" Kaine told CNN Sunday on \"State of the Union.\"
Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expects the President will send text of an authorization as soon as this week, according to a Corker aide.
At that point, the committee will hold rigorous hearings in which the administration can provide greater clarity on the U.S. strategy regarding ISIS, particularly in Syria.
Regardless of what language the White House sends, an open question is how Congress will bridge the wide gap between hawks and non-hawks on the many issues involved here: whether to restrict the use of ground troops, whether to include a sunset or time limit for the authorization and whether to include geographical restrictions.