One US senator believes his colleagues will provide funds to fight the Islamic State (IS) group, but he wants the strikes to cease unless Congress formally authorizes them.
Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, predicts Congress will inflate the 2015 overseas contingency operations (OCO) budget during a November-December lame duck session.
The House approved $79.4 billion for war monies, but that was before the White House submitted a revised figure. Possessing the final requested amount, the Senate Appropriations Committee later approved $59.4 billion for the OCO account.
Kaine, speaking Tuesday at the left-leaning Center for American Progress here, predicted that figure will grow when lawmakers take up some kind of massive government spending bill during the lame duck session. Congress must pass something to avoid a government shutdown by Dec. 11, when a stopgap appropriations bill will expire.
The former Virginia governor added to a growing chorus of lawmakers, aides and analysts who say both chambers will likely pass a massive omnibus spending bill in December. The OCO budget would be attached to that measure.
But Kaine made clear he believes the US air strikes in Iraq that began in August and ones that began early Tuesday in Syria should stop unless Congress formally approves them during the lame duck session.
“We’ve got to do this mission right,” Kaine said, “or don’t do it.”
To him, that includes both chambers passing a “narrow” authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) for American strikes in Iraq and Syria against IS.