The Obama administration urged members of Congress Monday to stop criticizing Obama's strategy against the Islamic State and instead funnel their frustration into passing an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).
“For more than a year, Congress has been AWOL on their responsibility to pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which would demonstrate to our allies and to our enemies that the U.S. is united in its efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said according to a report in the Hill.
Obama asked Congress in February to authorize military force against ISIL not because he was worried he did not have authorization, but because, according to his letter to Congress, he had "repeatedly expressed my commitment to working with the Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL."
The Obama administration has always upheld that authorizations from 2001 and 2003 to defeat al-Qaeda were sufficient. Congress never did take up an AUMF on the floor. In fact, divisions amongst Democrats and Republicans left the legislation in committee limbo. Congress moved on and never sponsored their own alternative.
Yet, Republicans and even Democrats have persistently blamed Obama for the continuing rise of ISIL. As members of Congress inch closer to elections, a tough vote on a strategy to defeat ISIL grows less appealing, but Earnest compelled members that it was their job.
“It will take more than three weeks to pass an AUMF, but Congress, in each of these cases, must stop using the fact that these issues are difficult as an excuse for doing nothing," Earnest said. according to the Hill report.