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GOP PUNTS AGAIN

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eddiew

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GOP punts on war vote, again
By BURGESS EVERETT


01/28/16 12:08 PM EST

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No, Congress isn't any closer to actually voting on the war against the Islamic State.

Despite growing bipartisan frustration, Senate Republicans made clear on Thursday they have no plans to vote on authorizing the ongoing war against the Islamic State with the presidential race now fully underway. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s procedural move last week that could allow the Senate to vote on the war was pro forma and mostly just a favor to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

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Corker also warned that having a debate now would intrude on the presidential race. He suggested the discussion would likely devolve into how to tie the hands of the next president rather than a debate over whether the ongoing air campaign is legally justified by two war authorizations that are more than a decade old.

“What I don’t want to do is enter into a debate that’s really more about the presidential race and about people maybe having concerns about having a president that’s elected that would conduct the war in a more aggressive manner than the current president,” Corker said.

Corker said that after multiple conversations with McConnell, it’s his understanding that there are no plans to consider Graham’s open-ended Authorization of the Use of Military Force on the Senate floor. McConnell could bring the bill up for a vote after putting it on the Senate calendar, but he has no plans to do so until he is satisfied with Obama's war tactics.

"I don’t think it changed the debate in any way,” Corker said. If McConnell wanted to have a war debate, Corker added, “he would look to this committee” for an AUMF.

But Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) did not seem reassured by the exchange and said in a brief interview afterward that he still had concerns that Senate leaders might try to go around the Foreign Relations Committee and begin consideration of Graham’s bill directly on the Senate floor.

“I don’t know. That’s typically what you do. So we’ll see,” Flake said.

And despite protests from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) that the war against ISIS is “just, but illegal,” Corker reiterated that President Barack Obama has all the power he needs to fight against the terrorist group.

Flake and Kaine have been harping on the issue for months as the committee has skirted the issue, and Kaine brought it up at the end of a Thursday business meeting in which the panel passed new sanctions against North Korea.

Obama submitted a proposed AUMF nearly a year ago, and Congress has yet to touch the issue officially since 2014. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has expressed openness to a war vote but has yet to take actio



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eddiew

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