U.S. President Barack Obama’s request for congressional authorization of military force to fight the Islamic State does not have enough support to pass the U.S. House of Representatives, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican said on Monday.
“I do not see a path to 218 (a majority of House votes) with what the president sent up,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, adding the plan “would weaken our ability to respond to the current situation.”
Obama in February asked Congress to authorize the use of military force (AUMF) against Islamic State after agitation from lawmakers worried that the military campaign he began in August overstepped his constitutional authority.
But the request has made little progress since he sent it to Congress, and it may never pass, due largely to opposition from his fellow Democrats worried about U.S. involvement in another war in the Middle East.
Republicans, who control Congress and criticize Obama’s foreign policy as too passive, want stronger measures against the militant fighters than the steps included in Obama’s proposal and fewer limits on the use of U.S. combat troops than what he included.
“The world has become more dangerous since he (Obama) laid out Yemen as the strategy of how to move forward” against Islamic State fighters, McCarthy said at a press conference.
He added that House committees would attempt to cobble together a bipartisan AUMF alternative to Obama’s request.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Susan Heavey)