House appropriators want to reinforce Congress’ importance in authorizing military intervention in the Middle East, even if so far lawmakers have done little on the issue.
On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee inserted language into its fiscal 2016 defense budget bill emphasizing that “Congress has a constitutional duty to debate and determine whether or not to authorize the use of military force” against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.
The amendment — sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. — passed by a 29 to 22 margin with most of the Republican leaders on the committee opposed to the measure as off-topic and politically problematic for the appropriations bill.
But Lee called the provision an important statement by Congress about its role in matters of “war and peace,” given the lack of action from lawmakers thus far on military operations entering their 10th month.
“It’s way past time to reassert Congress’ role in war making,” she said. “We can’t allow this war to go on without a full and robust debate for the use of military force against ISIL. We can’t allow this policy of endless wars to continue.”