Boehner says he'd recall Congress for ISIS vote
Speaker of the House John Boehner told ABC News "This Week" that he would be willing to call the House back into session to debate any war authorization the president submitted.
“I'd be happy to,” Boehner told ABC News’s “This Week.” “The president typically in a situation like this would call for an authorization vote and go sell that to the American people and send a resolution to the Hill. The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions.”
Boehner said he agreed with the administration that the president has the authority to carry out the strikes against ISIS, but that “Congress ought to consider” a resolution explicitly authorizing such action.
“I’d bring the Congress back,” Boehner said.
The Republican also dismissed reports suggesting he shied away from such a vote before Congress left because he worried it would fracture both parties and possibly not garner enough bipartisan support to pass. Legislation authorizing strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons last year floundered on the Hill, dealing a significant political blow to the White House.
“I did not suggest that to anybody in my caucus, or to the president for that matter,” Boehner said.
It’s also believed that congressional leaders decided against taking a more explicit vote out of concern over the political ramifications immediately before the midterm elections.
The White House has said that it feels the vote earlier this month to authorize a program to train and arm the moderate Syrian opposition was “a clear sign of support from a majority of Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress” for the president’s strategy.
Officials have also said they don’t plan to prepare additional language for Congress to vote on, although they would appreciate any steps lawmakers wanted to take on their own.
“If there are additional steps that Congress chooses to take to indicate their support for the president’s strategy, we would welcome it,” press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday.
Is Boehner bluffing? It's not true that he didn't delay a vote on authorizing force in Syria before the recess. While several Republicans and Democrats were pressing for a debate on the issue, Boehner quickly adjourned the House following the vote on the continuing resolution. The truth is, neither party really wanted a vote because it would divide their caucuses just weeks before the election.
But Boehner seems fairly safe in playing the statesman by saying he would call Congress back into session if the president submitted a resolution for war. Since there's not much chance of that happening, he avoids the issue while somewhat placating those in his party who think a resolution is necessary.