- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

President Obama called on Congress to pass a new authorization to use military force against the Islamic State at the State of the Union, but lawmakers said they had hoped for him to be more specific about powers he believes he will need to defeat the terrorist group.

“He’s called on Congress to take action without one sentence, one proposal from him as to what he wants,” Rep. Michael Turner, Ohio Republican, said after the speech.

Mr. Obama said in Tuesday’s speech that a new authorization for the use of military force would “show the world that we are united in this mission” to defeat the Islamic State, but offered no specifics on what his strategy is to fight the terrorist group.

Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have said it’s up to Mr. Obama to submit language for a resolution, and they had indicated earlier this month that they believed the president was ready to do so.

But his speech did little to bolster their confidence.

“What is his proposal of what he wants to be in the AUMF? He’s the commander in chief so I am glad, I believe we should be looking at authorizing force, however I want to know what is his plan for success,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican. “That is a fair question and we have not seen that from the president yet.”

Mr. Obama has said he has powers to fight the Islamic State under the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for going after al Qaeda and ousting Saddam Hussein from Afghanistan — though he has also said he wants to see both of those replaced with an updated resolution.

Many members of Congress say the 2001 and 2002 authorizations don’t cover the Islamic State fight, and argue Mr. Obama is skirting the law.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been asking the White House to send over a draft authorization for months, but have yet to receive any language.

Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters that he hoped the president’s renewed call for passage of an AUMF meant the White House would send language to the Capitol soon.

“I think it would help us get the debate going,” he said.

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