US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin says Congress will eventually vote on authorizing President Obama’s war on the Islamic State (IS) — “one way or another.”
After the Pentagon and White House on Tuesday morning announced that US and coalition air strikes had begun on IS targets in Syria, Republican and Democratic lawmakers began issuing statements and tweets voicing their support. But mixed in with those endorsements were other calls for Congress to formally authorize a new war in a new country.
One stood out.
“While I support taking immediate action to address this serious threat and stand with our men and women in uniform, the potential consequences of any missteps are grave and the stakes too high for the president to go it alone with a ‘pen and phone’ mentality,” Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement.
Breaking with other House and Senate GOP leaders, Cornyn said that “as the president involves the nation deeper in what could be a prolonged military campaign, he should seek a new congressional authorization for the use of military force [AUMF] without delay.”
Cornyn could become majority leader of the Senate if Republicans capture 51 seats in midterm elections.
And although GOP minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in a Tuesday statement on the Syria strikes, made no mention of a congressional vote — neither did GOP House Speaker Rep. John Boehner’s — one veteran lawmaker said Cornyn will get his wish.
“One way or another, the AUMF issue, as a practical matter, has got to be resolved,” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters on Wednesday. “There’s no way that issue is not going to be addressed, I believe.