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White House To Congress: Pass An AUMF To Take Out The Islamic State

AP Photo / Evan Vucci

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.