- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2014

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said Monday that he doesn’t believe lawmakers should cut their six-week break short to vote on authorizing military strikes in Syria.

“I think that the fact is that this matter will be considered in the lame-duck. Whether it will be passed in the lame-duck, I don’t know,” Mr. Hoyer said at a National Press Club event in D.C. “I do not believe it’s necessary nor do I think it’ll happen that we’ll come back before the lame duck, but it is my expectation we will start debate give the circumstances that exist today.”

While Congress voted to let the president arm and train Syrian rebels earlier this month, lawmakers left D.C. before taking a vote to expand the authorization of military forces from the early 2000s to include strikes in Syria. Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until after the midterm elections in November.

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said lawmakers need to return before then to vote to give the president authorization to strike the Islamic State in Syria. Speaker John A. Boehner said Sunday that he would consider bringing lawmakers back to D.C. early if President Obama asked him to.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Monday at a breakfast event that Mr. Boehner should call members back to Washington, not wait for the president to ask them to come back.

“Since when do we sit around waiting, using the excuse he didn’t ask?” Mrs. Pelosi said, according to a Bloomberg report. “No, if you want to have an authorization that has any constraints on the president, you don’t wait for him to write it.”

Some lawmakers think the president has the authority to strike the Islamic State without congressional authorization, while others — including some Democrats — say he is going against the Constitution by striking without lawmakers on board when there is no immediate threat.

Mr. Hoyer didn’t explicitly say if the president needs the OK from lawmakers, but said he thinks it’s important for Congress to vote on a new authorization.

“I think it is incumbent on the Congress of the United States to reconsider based on current facts, present challenges and present threats, the authorization for the use of military forced passed in 2001 and 2002,” he said.


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