WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama is aligned with unlikely bedfellows in the Republican Party who support granting the President unlimited powers to prosecute the war against the Islamic State (ISIL), as the White House prepares to submit its Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, experts told Sputnik.
“That’s one of the ironies to me about the Republican Party. It doesn’t really make sense because on a lot of issues Republicans say they can’t trust Obama, because he’s a tyrant. But when it comes to national security, they’re willing to give him unrestricted power,” Professor of Government at American University, Chris Edelson, told Sputnik on Tuesday.
Edelson, who specializes in presidential powers and the US constitution, said that Republicans like Senator James Inhofe calling for an unrestrained AUMF is worrisome, given that a major component of Congress’ “reason for existence” is to check presidential overreach.
“I think you should expect presidents to seek as much power as they can get. The role of Congress is to set limits on that executive power, and this is what disappoints me about what Senator Inhofe and other Republicans have been saying,” Edelson explained.
According to Sarah Binder, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a major cleavage exists within the Republican camp over whether to give the White House untethered control over US military resources, as some high-profile Republican leaders, including Senators Lyndsey Graham and John McCain, promote Obama’s side of the argument.
“And there are strong differences within the Republican Party over authorizing the use of force. Some, like Senators Graham and McCain, support open-ended grants of authority, with no constraints,” Binder said.
Meanwhile, many liberals within Obama’s own Democratic Party, in league with Libertarian Republicans like Senator Rand Paul, will likely oppose any proposals that put reasonable constraints on presidential war powers, she added.
On Monday, Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Republican Orrin Hatch to urge Congress to provide the President unrestricted authorization to use force in order to defeat ISIL.
Obama is finalizing the language of a draft AUMF resolution that he will submit to Congress “relatively soon,” White House spokesperson Josh Ernest said on Tuesday. Obama and his lawyers claim they already have the power to prosecute the war against ISIL, but Congress passing the AUMF would be a “powerful symbol” that the government is united behind the anti-ISIL strategy, Ernest added.
The Obama administration has relied on use of force authorizations from 2001 and 2003 to legally justify US military strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria, where the extremists have proclaimed the establishment of an Islamic caliphate across areas under their control.
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