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Senator on Islamic State fight: 3,300 bombing runs — and Congress still won’t call a war a war

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Congress’ failure to even debate U.S. military action against Islamic State nine months after air strikes began is scandalous and disrespectful to Americans fighting an undeclared war, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine said on Thursday.

Kaine, a Democratic member of the Foreign Relations Committee, has been an unrelenting critic of Congress’ failure to authorize military force against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, even as a U.S.-led bombing campaign has been in effect since Aug. 8.

In media interviews before a Senate speech on Thursday, Kaine outlined reasons for the delay, including congressional reluctance to take up the matter before elections last November.

“American service members have lost their lives, we’ve spent over $2 billion, 3,300 bombing runs and Congress hasn’t even been willing to talk about this or authorize the military action,” Kaine said on CNN. “This is a big scandal in my view.”

He said it was disrespectful to ask American service members to risk their lives when Congress would not even debate the mission.

President Barack Obama asked Congress in February to authorize the use of military force (AUMF) against Islamic State after agitation from lawmakers who were worried that the military campaign overstepped his constitutional authority.

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But the request has made little progress.

Obama’s fellow Democrats worry about getting involved in another Middle East war, while the Republicans who control Congress want stronger measures than those Obama has proposed.

House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said last month Obama’s proposal did not have enough support to pass.

But Kaine said on CNN there was overwhelming backing in Congress for military action against Islamic State, and differences could be overcome so that “our allies, our adversaries and our troops all know that Congress supports this mission.”

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Trump’s horsewhip-carrying chief of protocol will resign after intimidating State Department staff: report

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President Donald Trump's chief of protocol plans to step down just ahead of the G-20 summit in Japan, according to Bloomberg News.

Sean Lawler, whose job includes assisting the president in diplomatic talks overseas and with foreign leaders in the White House, faces an investigation from the State Department's inspector general for intimidating subordinates, including carrying a horsewhip around the office.

The president reportedly did not care for Lawler, at one point asking officials why he still works at the White House.

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Jerry Falwell, Jr blasted as ‘un-Christian prat’ after trying to defend Donald Trump in battle with Southern Baptist ethics chief

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Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. was ripped online for attempting to rationalize President Donald Trump's detention camps for children.

Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, posted on Twitter an Associated Press story on the "perilous conditions" at a Texas Border Patrol station holding 300 children.

"The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this," Moore wrote.

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Prosecutors offered indicted GOP congressman a deal to keep his multiple taxpayer-funded trysts quiet — but he refused

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On Tuesday, CNN reported that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), facing indictment for stealing campaign funds and falsifying spending reports, was offered a deal by to keep secret the incidents in which he used taxpayer money to finance affairs with lobbyists — but he refused.

"Prosecutors told a judge they tried to cut a deal with Hunter to avoid revealing the alleged tryst, but his attorneys refused," reported CNN's Tom Foreman.

The affairs were made public shortly after it was revealed that Hunter's wife Margaret, an alleged co-conspirator in the scheme, was cooperating with prosecutors. Hunter had previously tried to blame the entire scheme on his wife — a claim that looks increasingly dubious.

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