President Obama is pushing congressional leaders to authorize a $5 billion counterterrorism fund that could be used to support
operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Approving the fund could allow the White House and congressional leaders to escape a tougher vote on authorizing or funding military action before the midterm elections but still achieve the “buy in” the president has said he wants from Congress.
At the same time, the request risks opening the White House up to attacks that it is asking for a blank check from Congress to carry out military action. It’s also unclear whether the counterterrorism proposal would be enough for the administration to decimate ISIS.
The president first suggested the fund during a foreign policy address earlier this year at the West Point military academy, but it went nowhere in Congress.
The idea was revisited on Monday by White House press secretary Josh Earnest, who floated it as something that “would strengthen the hand of this president and future presidents for dealing with urgent situations like this.”