- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sen. Bill Nelson said Thursday that when Congress returns next week he will push a bill that gives President Obama the authority to target the Islamic State in Syria.

“We may as well have the Constitution followed, which is the Congress declares war,” the Florida Democrat told CNN.

Mr. Nelson, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, said the fight against Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq will be a long-term affair, and the question of constitutional authority for Mr. Obama to wage war should be settled “once and for all.”

“If we don’t deal with ISIS now, we will certainly have to deal with them in the future,” he said. “We’re in this for the long haul.”

A congressional vote on authorization to wade into the conflict zone — although the administration has swatted away talk of ground troops — would come at a politically charged time, with mid-term elections just two months away.

But Mr. Nelson said he cannot imagine constituents turning their backs on candidates who want to confront the Islamic State, which has already beheaded two U.S. reporters in taped executions and taken swaths of Iraq and Syria.

“This is a real threat to American to our allies to the freedom-loving people of the world,” the senator told CNN. “How any more beheadings is it going to take to get people to realize what we’re dealing with?”

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